Now word comes that a federal grand jury is looking into Governor Bill Richardson’s receipt of a political contribution from a company that advised New Mexico on bond deals:
A federal grand jury is investigating how a company that advised Jefferson County, Alabama, on bond deals that threaten to cause the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, did similar work in New Mexico after making contributions to Governor Bill Richardson’s political action committees.
The grand jury in Albuquerque is looking into Beverly Hills, California-based CDR Financial Products Inc., which received almost $1.5 million in fees from the New Mexico Finance Authority in 2004 after donating $100,000 to Richardson’s efforts to register Hispanic and American Indian voters and pay for expenses at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, people familiar with the matter said.
Other than to say Richardson is aware of the issue and expects everyone to co-operate, Richardson’s office had no further comment. Nothing from the Obama transition team, so far.
Perhaps this will turn out to be nothing. Perhaps Rahm Emanuel will face no further inquiry. But for number of investigations involving top advisors before he takes office, President-elect Obama certainly has set a new record.
To be clear, we don’t know whether anyone did anything improper in either situation. But it does put a premium on candor and not weasel-worded responses concerning aides’ involvement in matters under investigation. Speaking of which, does it really take a week to compile a list of contacts between the transition team and Blago’s office?
Could we perhaps start with the Chicago-based advisors who logically would have had contact with Blago? Really, Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod and Emanuel should be able to come forward and explain what was said, if anything, to whom and when. Far better for it to come out now, and frankly be lost in the holiday news black hole, than to have it hang over the transition team.