As President-elect Barack Obama transferred to Washington, D.C., from his Chicago HQ this weekend, his first big political problem from within the ranks of his Cabinet choices began: New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, nominated by Obama, withdrew from consideration as commerce secretary because a scandal is brewing in Richardson’s home state.

Click here for a brief timeline of the events related to the Richardson flap.


AFP via Google News:

The withdrawal came a month after Obama nominated the top Hispanic politician to the Commerce Department on December 3, when a federal grand jury investigation into the company was already under way.

“It is a measure of his willingness to put the nation first that he has removed himself as a candidate for the cabinet in order to avoid any delay in filling this important economic post at this critical time,” Obama said.

The federal grand jury in Albuquerque is investigating how the company, CDR Financial Products, won lucrative contracts to advise New Mexico state authorities four years ago after donating money to Richardson.

Richardson, insisting he had done nothing wrong, said he would continue as New Mexico governor “for now” as the investigation into the California-based firm plays out.

On Monday the president-elect was to hold a flurry of meetings on Capitol Hill and convene his economic team — now shorn of Richardson.

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