Reports: Guv won’t be charged in federal probe
Gov. Bill Richardson and “former high-ranking members of his administration” won’t be charged following the federal investigation into allegations of pay to play in his administration, The Associated Press is reporting.
“It’s over. There’s nothing. It was killed in Washington,” the AP quoted “a person familiar with the investigation, who asked not to be identified because federal officials had not disclosed results of the probe,” as saying.
The decision to kill the case was made by “top Justice Department officials,” that person told the news service.
Richardson’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the AP report. The governor, who is in Cuba on a trade mission, has said all along that he and his administration did nothing improper.
Since sometime in mid 2008, Investigators had been probing allegations that CDR Financial Products received a state investment contract that paid almost $1.5 million in exchange for $110,000 in contributions to two Richardson political committees and his 2006 gubernatorial re-election campaign. CDR was paid to advise the NMFA on interest-rate swaps and restructuring escrow funds for $1.6 billion in bonds related to the transportation project dubbed GRIP, or Governor Richardson’s Investment Partnership.
Among those close to Richardson investigators looked at were David Harris, who headed the finance authority at the time in question; Dave Contarino, Richardson’s former chief of staff and manager of his presidential and gubernatorial campaigns; Richardson political adviser Michael Stratton; and J.P. Morgan banker Chris Romer, who is also a Colorado state senator.
Probe cost Richardson commerce secretary job
But Richardson has seen his approval rating rebound somewhat in recent months, and in the last two weeks the global troubleshooter has met with a North Korean delegation in Santa Fe and made the trip to Cuba. He’s scheduled to return to New Mexico on Friday and will report to Obama on his visit.
Obama said in January, when Richardson withdrew his nomination to be commerce secretary, that he looked forward to Richardson’s “future service to our country and in my administration.” Richardson said he would continue serving as governor “for now” and was “eager to serve in the future in any way (Obama) deems useful.”
Update, 7:45 a.m.
KRQE-TV in Albuquerque is also reporting, independent of the AP, that Richardson and others won’t be charged.
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