Barack Obama | Bill Richardson | Democratic Party | News

Bill Richardson Withdraws as Commerce Secretary Nominee

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has declined Obama's nomination as Commerce Secretary because of a grand jury investigation in his home state:

Obama_richardson"The grand jury has been investigating 'pay-to-play' allegations concerning a New Mexico state contract awarded to a California firm that has contributed to three political committees formed by Richardson, The Associated Press reported last month. A source close to Richardson told Politico, 'There are too many unanswered questions and while he thinks the results of the grand jury will turn out in his favor, he doesn't want to distract attention from the administration.'"

ABC's Jake Tapper reports that the Obama team felt that Richardson was not forthcoming about the investigation prior to his nomination, though Richardson's camp disagrees:

"President-elect Obama did not ask Richardson to withdraw his name from consideration, sources from both camps say, but the fact that the confirmation seemed untenable in the short term was apparent to everyone involved."

National Latino leaders are pressing for another Hispanic nominee: "Within hours of Richardson pulling his name for secretary of commerce, the head of the League of United Latin American Citizens had compiled a list of 10 Latino elected officials and corporate CEOs that would be offered to the Obama transition team. The list included Rep. Xavier Beccera (D-Calif.), who turned down the U.S. trade representative post, Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez and Miami Mayor Manny Diaz."

An MSNBC report on Richardson's withdrawal, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Not surprised. I never liked him. Whenever I expressed that, people would jump down my throat and talk about what an amazing ally he's been, which may be true, but he's shady and I can't overlook his "touching" habit either. I'm glad this happened now and not later, and I'm so glad he was not the veep.

    Wish a queer candidate would bubble to the top as the ideal choice...

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Jan 5, 2009 8:25:12 AM

  2. Richardson is a good man. Working for him in Iowa for the 2008 caucus. He's really nice. Hope everything clears up.

    Posted by: KFLO | Jan 5, 2009 12:17:23 PM

  3. I wish Gov. Rod Blagojevich would feel the same way and just do IL a favor and resign. The Feds need to get their act together and prosecute them both. Payback for back-stabbing the Clintons?

    Posted by: 2nd Class Citizen | Jan 5, 2009 12:25:52 PM

  4. Now we have a chance for the Prez-elect to show us real change we can believe in. Don't bend the knee to any pressure group of any kind--ethnic, racial or dare I say, affection preference. Pick the best available candidate, even if it is a str8 old "Anglo".

    Too many of us Dems and progressives are still playing the quota game instead of getting the best person. Besides, if the new Prez and his cabinet can fix my eviscerated 401k in 2009, I'm not holding out for a lesbian Asian or gay male Latino.

    Posted by: Contrarian | Jan 5, 2009 5:16:47 PM

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