A federal grand jury is investigating how a California company that contributed to Richardson's political activities won a New Mexico transportation contract worth more than $1 million.
Richardson said in a statement issued by the Obama transition office that the investigation could take weeks or months but expressed confidence it will show he and his administration acted properly.
"I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process," Richardson said. "Given the gravity of the economic situation the nation is facing, I could not in good conscience ask the president-elect and his administration to delay for one day the important work that needs to be done."
Richardson said he will remain as governor and told Obama, "I am eager to serve in the future in any way he deems useful."
Does anyone detect a difference in media coverage of Richardson's woes compared to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's alleged pay-to-play crimes? Bloomberg News broke this story just days after Blagojevich's arrest by FBI agents. There were no calls for Richardson's resignation as governor or talk of his impeachment by the legislature. There were no demands by Democratic leaders for his withdrawal as Commerce Secretary nominee. It's not like it's hard to believe Richardson is game to pay-to-play. Recall that it was Richardson who offered a job to Monica Lewinsky at the United Nations while he was serving as our country's Ambassador in an effort to silence her from discussing her sexual relations with then-President Bill Clinton.
President-elect Obama, whose interwoven ties to Blagojevich's pay-to-play scandals are indisputable, was quick to condemn the guy with whom he traded favors regularly in Illinois politics. Obama helped hook up political fixer Tony Rezko with Blagojevich and steered legislation through the committee he chaired to revamp the state's Health Facilities Planning Board so Rezko could stack it with his cronies. By contrast, Obama has nothing but words of praise for Richardson:
"Governor Richardson is an outstanding public servant and would have brought to the job of Commerce Secretary and our economic team great insights accumulated through an extraordinary career in federal and state office," Obama said. "It is a measure of his willingness to put the nation first that he has removed himself as a candidate for the Cabinet to avoid any delay in filling this important economic post at this critical time. Although we must move quickly to fill the void left by Governor Richardson's decision, I look forward to his future service to our country and in my administration."
If Obama had put his country first as he claims Richardson is now doing, he would have never run for president. The American people have no idea what Chicago crooks they've put in charge of this country. Contrary to popular belief, Obama is no cleaner than Blagojevich, who can destroy Obama if he chooses to divulge all he knows in a deal with prosecutors. If the American media had done its job and told the truth to the American people, Obama would never have won the Democratic nomination and became president. We've witnessed in the past couple of months just how recklessly our federal government is blowing through the $750 billion bailout money. Just wait until the Chicago goons start doling out $1 trillion from Obama' new stimulus package. You ain't seen nothing yet.
UPDATE: ABC News' Jake Tapper is reporting that the Obama transition team believes Richardson wasn't forthcoming in making disclosures about the investigation prior to his nomination. Richardson's camp disputes the account, noting that news reports last August in New Mexico started raising issues about the contract.