Monday, December 15, 2008

Feds Investigating Richardson For Pay-To-Play Bond Deal

Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM), President-elect Barack Obama's choice to head up the Commerce Department, is being probed by federal investigators about the role campaign donations may have played in his state's decision to award bond work to CDR Financial Products, Inc. Bloomberg News reports:

A federal grand jury is investigating how a company that advised Jefferson County, Alabama, on bond deals that threaten to cause the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, did similar work in New Mexico after making contributions to Governor Bill Richardson’s political action committees . . .

The grand jury in Albuquerque is looking into Beverly Hills, California-based CDR Financial Products Inc., which received almost $1.5 million in fees from the New Mexico Finance Authority in 2004 after donating $100,000 to Richardson’s efforts to register Hispanic and American Indian voters and pay for expenses at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, people familiar with the matter said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation asked current and former officials from the state agency if any staff members in the governor’s office influenced CDR’s hiring, said the people, who declined to be identified because the proceedings are secret. Richardson, who is President-elect Barack Obama’s designate for Commerce Secretary, has a staff of at least 30 people.

“They’re looking at everything related to CDR,” William Sisneros, the finance agency’s chief executive officer, said of the FBI probe. “They’re just trying to evaluate all the relationships to see what CDR was doing for the money.”

Bloomberg says the investigation is part of a nationwide effort to investigate pay-to-play deals in the municipal bond market.

This is more bad news for President-elect Obama. The Illinois corruption investigation threatens to consume his administration before it even takes office. His choice for Attorney General, Eric Holder, now appears to be facing confirmation obstacles due to his past questionable dealings. Holder, incidentally, once performed legal work for Gov. Blagoyevich's administration on the awarding of a casino license. Holder's work irked Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who felt he was encroaching into matters within her jurisdiction. Madigan petitioned the Illlinois Supreme Court on Friday to relieve the governor from his duties at least temporarily due to alleged "disability."


Michael said...

Democrats are FAR more likely to engage in corruption than Republicans. When you spend all of your adult life supporting and arranging for government intervention in the economy, with the attendant arrogant attitude that you are entitled to do so, it is natural that companies and lobbyists will have their way with these Dems. The players know that they have to curry favor with the Dems, and to them... the bribes are just a necessary cost of doing business... a balance sheet issue. To the Dem bribe takers, it is a justified fee or tribute for their continued favor. They care more... their intentions are pure.... the ends are, after all, designed to help others... so the graft they take is completely justified.

Narcissism rationalizes a LOT.

Anonymous said...

Michael: And what about the Republicans in Indiana shutting down the enforcement division of IDEM (Indiana Department of Environmental Management) and letting big businesses who donated to them pump whatever they want into the air and water?

I hear those three eyes fish are tasty.

Republican corruption? Naw!

ohjoe said...

Have the Feds looked into any KICKBACK, or upfront monies,,, Bill Richardson may have gotton from the UNION,,, for his first bill he put into force after becoming Govn of NM, was to DEMAND ALL STATE employees to JOIN THE UNION OR "BE FIRED" from our choice in the matter, pay union dues from each check, or be fired !!!! I signed the contract, but included on the paper I signed "under deress"....would this in fact be illegal for him to force 15,000 employees to join a union??? don't know how to get this question to folks who should be aware of of this sure would like some feed back, or for someone to pass this on to the proper people.. Joseph S Carter Please excuse any mis-spelled words.. after being force to give money back to the union in NM, I retired as soon as I possibly could, did not like the fact I was suddenly under,a communust rule all of a sudden...