Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Richardson Out as Commerce Secretary

An interesting Sunday surprise, to be sure, and one that we had expected given the background on this possible scandal. Bill Richardson is dropping out as Barack Obama's Commerce secretary:

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, tapped in December by President-elect Barack Obama to serve as secretary of Commerce, has withdrawn his name for the position, citing a pending investigation into a company that has done business with his state.

"Let me say unequivocally that I and my Administration have acted properly in all matters and that this investigation will bear out that fact," he said Sunday in a report by NBC News' Andrea Mitchell. "But I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process."

He said he plans to continue in his role as governor. "I appreciate the confidence President-elect Obama has shown in me, and value our friendship and working partnership. I told him that I am eager to serve in the future in any way he deems useful. And like all Americans, I pray for his success and the success of our beloved country."

What does the investigation have to do with? Pay-to-play, of course:

A federal grand jury is investigating whether a financial firm improperly won more than $1.4 million in work for the state of New Mexico shortly after making contributions to political action committees of Gov. Bill Richardson (D).

The probe focuses on whether the governor’s office urged a state agency to hire CDR Financial Products. The probe is in a highly active stage at a time when President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Richardson as his nominee for secretary of commerce, according to two sources familiar with the investigation. ...

The inquiry is part of a long-running nationwide investigation into “pay-to-play” practices in local government bond markets. In other cities, federal investigators are questioning whether financial firms have lavished politicians with money and gifts in exchange for fee-paying work advising municipal and local governments on investments. Authorities indicted the mayor of Birmingham, Ala., this month on charges of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and loans from a firm that led the city into toxic investments and massive bankruptcy.

Captain Ed Morrissey had a lengthy post about this back in December when it barely appeared on the radar, and quickly disappeared shortly thereafter. No one had reported any further developments, but it appears that there is something to these allegations if it is forcing the New Mexico governor to withdraw his name from consideration to be the next Commerce secretary.

And Captain Ed has a point at the end of that piece that is the tale of this tape:

Obama hardly needs another scandal associated with his close advisers. He’s already got his chief of staff backpedaling and stonewalling over the Blagojevich pay-for-play scandal, and now one of his Cabinet secretaries has links to another corruption probe. Most presidents go through two entire terms without having this many links to political payoffs, and Obama hasn’t even taken the oath of office yet.

Just remember, this is the "hope" and "change" the Obama-bots voted for. Thomas and I made a case during the election that obviously fell on deaf ears. The last thing we needed in Washington, DC was the Chicago Machine. It appears that the first head to roll in the Obama Cabinet is someone with the same business practices as Barack Obama's cronies in Chicago have.



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