(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
President-elect Barack Obama and Commerce Secretary-designate New Mexico Gov. Bill
Richardson take part in a news conference in Chicago on Dec. 3, 2008.

Gov. Richardson Out as Secretary of Commerce Nominee

January 04, 2009 02:25 PM
by Emily Coakley
One of President-elect Barack Obama’s cabinet nominees, N.M. Gov. Bill Richardson, has withdrawn, citing potential interference from an investigation in New Mexico.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, whom President-elect Barack Obama had nominated for Secretary of Commerce, withdrew his name from consideration Sunday, MSNBC reported.

Richardson’s reasons for withdrawing are connected to a “pending investigation into a company that has done business with his state,” MSNBC reported.

In a statement, Richardson said: “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.”

Fox News reported that the aim of the investigation is to determine whether Richardson “exchanged government contracts for campaign contributions.”

Richardson, who is serving his second term as governor, was among the field of potential Democratic presidential candidates. He also served as President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Energy and then as ambassador to the United Nations.

His withdrawal may parly fulfill a prediction by Democratic strategist James Carville, who said that 2009 would bring more scandals to Democrats.

“With two big Democratic elections in a row, Democrats now hold a larger majority—340 U.S. representatives, senators and governors. Simple math and history point to the fact that the more elected officials a party has in office, the more likely its politicians will get caught up in some sort of scandal,” Newsmax quoted Carville as saying to CNN.

The office Richardson was nominated for, Secretary of Commerce, is no stranger to problems. Many have criticized past Commerce picks as being an incoming president’s top fundraiser, and some have tried to get rid of the department altogether, The New York Times reported.

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