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Unfortunately I believe that we are limited in what we can focus on. I think that if we proceed with the partisan sideshow of prosecuting Bush admin. officials, healthcare will get lost in the brouhaha.
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Two Richardson Aides Are Focus of Probe

POSTED: 05:49 PM ET, 01/ 7/2009 by Derek Kravitz

The ongoing probe into New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's potential "quid pro quo" deal with a campaign contributor is focusing on two former aides to the one-time commerce secretary nominee.

Federal prosecutors are investigating the role of David Contarino, Richardson's former chief of staff, in the awarding of a $1.5 million consulting contract to CDR Financial Products Inc., Bloomberg reports. Richardson's ties to the California boutique firm, which contributed to the governor's political-action committees, are the subject of a grand jury investigation.

Richardson's staff is defending the 47-year-old Contarino, calling him a "key part of the progress in New Mexico." Contarino, a title company owner in Santa Fe, managed the Democrat's 2008 presidential campaign, ran the governor's first gubernatorial campaign and served as his chief of staff from 2003 through 2006.

Currently, no one has been charged with wrongdoing as a part of the grand jury's review. Richardson withdrew his name from consideration as President-elect Barack Obama's commerce secretary, citing the CDR probe.

Meanwhile, another top Richardson aide -- senior political adviser Michael Stratton -- worked for CDR as a consultant and reportedly lobbied the New Mexico Finance Authority to give the contract to the firm, sources told both Bloomberg News and The Associated Press.

Stratton, now a Denver-based political consultant, worked for JPMorgan Chase in 2003 and 2004 to help win public-finance business in New Mexico. Colorado state Sen. Chris Romer, the son of Colorado's former governor and also a Richardson campaign contributor, was the lead banker on those deals and told the Denver Post that he interviewed with the FBI this past fall.

By Derek Kravitz |  January 7, 2009; 5:49 PM ET
Previous: What a Week for Burris | Next: Government Calls Madoff a 'Danger', Satyam Scandle Rattles India, SEC Reopens Pequot Probe

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The concerns that arises from the Bill Richardson withdrawal is one that must be investigated by the Obama Transition and by the media: since July 2008 the Albuquerque newspapers were publishing stories about Richardson pay for play allege behavior!
What happened that the Transition staff did not searched these stories in the Albuquerque papers? How did they missed them? This is a serious flaw of due diligence that should be corrected!

Franklin D. Lopez
San Juan,PR

Posted by: franklinlopez46 | January 8, 2009 7:05 AM

We would be in trouble if the future of mankind were to depend on the success of finding one honest man in Gammorah. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson's political resume is nothing short of stellar, yet now he is subject to the possibility of a government investigative committee probe. I sincerely hope that his reputation will remain intact. However, I am also keeping my fingers crossed. Perhaps I should sacrifice a lamb,.. light a mennorah. Better yet, maybe I should take a religous pilgrimage to Chimayo!
I really do hope for the best.

Posted by: stockhause | January 8, 2009 4:11 PM

Excerpt from the book Wall Street Dancers

Excerpt from Wall Street Dancers

In the settlement with the SEC my testimony is not included and I neither confirm nor deny the SEC's findings. They were benevolent in the settlement so I have no complaint. On december 12, 2007 I concluded testimony for the SEC in further proceedings regarding the State Treasury of New Mexico. On December 13, 2007, the day after I testified, the headlines of the Albuquerque Journal read, "Feds Were On A witch Hunt For Governor"(referring to Governor Bill Richardson). It's not a witch hunt. They know where the money trail leads. They will just have a difficult time proving it.

Posted by: wallstreetdancer | January 10, 2009 12:11 PM

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