Richardson Resigns Cabinet Appointment

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Governor Bill Richardson, Obama’s appointee to Secretary of Commerce, resigned his appointment on January 4th in responding to allegations of corruption by a federal grand jury. He maintained his innocence, but said that the grand jury investigation would likely stall, if not prevent, his confirmation to the post of Commerce Secretary by Congress. “I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process,” Richardson said. “Given the gravity of the economic situation the nation is facing, I could not in good conscience ask the president-elect and his administration to delay for one day the important work that needs to be done.”

Under Richardson, the State of New Mexico awarded a large contract to an undisclosed company. The company also made sizeable contributions to political action committees created and/or supervised by Richardson. Details on the investigation are scarce, and Richardson and his aides have largely declined to comment, though according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, several of his employees have testified before the grand jury already. Mr. Obama has yet to name a replacement to the post of Commerce Secretary. Some have speculated that the position and its department might be re-merged (as it was before 1913) with the position of Labor Secretary, making Miss Solis (see accompanying article) responsible for both the Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor.

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