REPORT: BILL RICHARDSON TO WITHDRAW…. The lead headline on MSNBC right now reads, “Bill Richardson will withdraw as Commerce secretary, NBC News has learned.”
At this point, I haven’t seen or heard confirmation of this anywhere else, but that’s the report as of right now.
If the reporting is accurate, one can probably guess what’s prompted Richardson’s decision. We learned last week that Richardson is being investigated by a federal grand jury in New Mexico as part of a “pay to play” controversy, stemming from revelations about state bond business from the New Mexico Financial Authority going to David Rubin, a significant Richardson campaign contributor.
Even after the news broke, it was a setback for Obama transition team vetters, but few expected it to be a big deal for Richardson.
And, who knows, maybe Richardson is withdrawing for some other reason. I’m guessing it has something to do with the “pay to play” questions, but it may be unrelated. I guess we’ll find out soon.
At this point, though, I suspect Obama is awfully glad he didn’t ask Richardson to be Secretary of State.
Update: It’s official, Richardson is out and it’s due to the “unanswered questions” surrounding the federal grand jury investigation in New Mexico. Richardson said in a statement, “Let me say unequivocally that I and my administration have acted properly in all matters and that this investigation will bear out that fact. But I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process.”
The transition office also issued a statement, explaining that Obama accept’s Richardson’s decision “with deep regret.”