Richardson out as Commerce nominee
President-elect Barack Obama is without a Commerce Secretary designate.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson withdrew his name his nomination over the weekend due to an ongoing federal investigation of political ties to a company that received contracts from his administration, according to news reports.
Obama accepted Richardson’s resignation after it became clear that the FBI investigation would take longer than expected and lead to a delayed confirmation process, when Obama wants to hit the ground running with his economic team to tackle the recession.
Reports said the Obama transition team was aware of the investigation before his selection to be Commerce secretary, but that it did not become aware that Richardson himself was a target of the probe until later.
The head of the financial services company involved allegedly made large political contributions to Richardson.
Richardson said no wrongdoing is involved, but he stepped aside so as not to impede Obama from moving swiftly on his economic agenda.