If Bill Richardson were a Republican, he would be forced resign before the Grand Jury probe. Fortunately he is a Democrat and the (alleged) next Secretary of Commerce.
What is this going to do to his Cabinet position?
What will this do to his career?
What will this do to Diane Denish’s Transition Team as she transitions into Richardson’s office?
What will this do for Val Kilmer as he plans to (allegedly) run for governor in 2010?
“…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.”…Richardson’s plan — known as GRIP, Governor Richardson’s Investment Partnership — called for refinancing more than $400 million of the state’s existing transportation debt and selling new bonds through the finance agency to pay for improvement projects. CDR earned $951,566 for advising on derivatives tied to the bond issues and $443,265 for restructuring the escrow funds of the refunded bonds, agency documents show.
David Harris, the executive director of the state finance agency when the interest-rate swaps were done, was Richardson’s deputy chief of staff before he was appointed to the agency. He was also interviewed by the FBI, said Paul Kennedy, his lawyer. Kennedy declined to comment further.
CDR was hired after responding to a Dec. 30, 2003, request for proposals from the New Mexico Finance Authority for investment advisory services.
Splitting the Mandate
Six companies answered the request, which contained two questions out of 39 items related to experience with interest-rate swaps and guaranteed investment contracts. A joint venture from Smith Barney and New York-based Ryan Labs Inc. received the top score of 99 percent. CDR had the second-highest score of 97 percent, authority records show.
Rather than select the Smith Barney/Ryan Labs team as both investment and swap adviser, the authority’s then- Chief Financial Officer, Keith Mellor, recommended splitting the mandate. The agency gave the swap adviser job to CDR, which received the same score as the Smith Barney/Ryan Labs team on the swap section of the proposals, authority records show.
The chair of the committee that recommended CDR’s selection, Rick Homans, declined to comment. At the time, Homans was the Secretary of New Mexico’s Economic Development Department. He now serves as the secretary of the Taxation and Revenue Department….”
Naturally, Heath Haussaman, the uber Democrat blogger here in NM, is defending Richardson:
“…CDR won a contract related to the massive transportation-funding plan Richardson dubbed GRIP — or Governor Richardson’s Investment Partnership — in 2004. According to Bloomberg, “CDR made $1.48 million advising the authority on interest-rate swaps and restructuring escrow funds for $1.6 billion of transportation bonds issued by the agency.”
Meanwhile, in 2003 and 2004, CDR Financial gave $75,000 to Richardson’s political action committee Si Se Puede!, and the company’s head, David Rubin, gave $25,000 to Moving America Forward, another Richardson PAC.
No information released publicly has directly linked Richardson to the probe, but the investigation centers around whether staffers in Richardson’s office influenced the hiring of CDR. The commerce secretary-designate could face questions about the situation when he goes through a Senate confirmation hearing in late January or February….”
“…CDR was linked to the Birmingham scandal and the indictment of Mayor Larry Langford on corruption charges. Langford solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars from bond underwriter Blount Parrish & Co, and CDR advised Langford on the transactions. Blount Parrish managed to secure over seven million dollars in these bond services to Jefferson County, a hefty take from the $235,000 Langford demanded in loans, clothes, and jewelry.
Apparently, federal investigators have discovered a booming market in municipal-bond corruption. The empanelment of a grand jury in New Mexico means that the investigation has reached the stage where criminal charges could get produced. They may not have a difficult time in finding connections, either. CDR’s president donated tens of thousands of dollars to a Richardson PAC as well as to Si Se Puede Boston 2004, which helped fund the Democratic convention while Richardson chaired the committee that ran it. The payment to Moving America Forward came in 2003, before their selection as a consultant to the state, while their donation to Si Se Puede Boston 2004 apparently came shortly afterward….”
Trackposted to Rosemary’s Thoughts, Political Byline, The World According to Carl, DragonLady’s World, Cao’s Blog, Democrat=Socialist, Conservative Cat, and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.