Two Richardson Aides Are Focus of Probe
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
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: franklinlopez46 | January 8, 2009 7:05 AM
Posted by: stockhause | January 8, 2009 4:11 PM
Posted by: wallstreetdancer | January 10, 2009 12:11 PM