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Archive for January 4th, 2009

Breaking News: NBC Reports that Gov. Bill Richardson Withdrawing Name for Commerce Sec. Because of FBI Probe

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has withdrawn his nomination as Commerce secretary because of a pending FBI investigation into a major political contributor who landed lucrative state contracts , NBC reported Sunday afternoon.
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reported that Richardson concluded that the probe would delay his confirmation and he did not want to interfere with the administration’s plans.
The FBI in New Mexico is probing whether  political contributions from CDR Financial of California helped  the company land more than $1.4 million in state contracts.
“Let me say unequivocally that I and my Administration have acted properly in all matters and that this investigation will bear out that fact,” he said, according to NBC. “But I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process.”
NBC also reported that he said: “I appreciate the confidence President-elect Obama has shown in me, and value our friendship and working partnership. I told him that I am eager to serve in the future in any way he deems useful. And like all Americans, I pray for his success and the success of our beloved country.”
The FBI declined comment Sunday afternoon.
Obama issued a statement in response.
“Governor Richardson is an outstanding public servant and would have brought to the job of Commerce Secretary and our economic team great insights accumulated through an extraordinary career in federal and state office. It is a measure of his willingness to put the nation first that he has removed himself as a candidate for the Cabinet to avoid any delay in filling this important economic post at this critical time. Although we must move quickly to fill the void left by Governor Richardson’s decision, I look forward to his future service to our country and in my administration.”

NBC Report on Gov. Bill Richardson

Businesses Reaching Settlements With Justice Dept. Before New Regime Takes Over

Is the Bush Justice Department going to give a better deal to business? Some appear to think so.

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has reached more than a dozen business-related settlements since the presidential election, with more in the pipeline for January, prompting lawyers and interest groups to assert that companies are seeking more favorable terms before the new administration arrives.
The climate for business settlements could grow more harsh when Obama appointees seize the reins at the Justice Department, corporate lawyers say. They point to statements by Attorney General-designate Eric H. Holder Jr., who told an audience last month that he would expand the focus of federal prosecutors into corporate suites.
A review of 15 agreements involving corporations since early November suggests that much of the alleged misconduct dates back five years or more, provoking questions about why the cases took so long to mature and why resolutions are coming with only weeks left in President Bush’s term.
“What they obviously are trying to do is take advantage of an administration that’s deemed to be more friendly to business,” said Cono R. Namorato, a Washington defense lawyer who ran the Internal Revenue Service’s office of professional responsibility earlier in the Bush administration. “I know of no tax reason for doing it now.”
For Full Story

Mexico Extradites 10 Drug Traffickers to U.S.

ticklethewire.com photo file

ticklethewire.com photo file

The U.S. continues its aggressive campaign against drugs in Mexico, but the killing and trafficking continues. Here’s the latest on the war on drugs.

By Julie Watson
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
MEXICO CITY – Mexico sent 10 drug-smuggling suspects to the United States on Wednesday, capping an already record year for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration between the two countries.
Several are accused of being high-ranking members of Mexico’s most powerful drug gangs, including the Gulf and Tijuana-based Arellano-Felix cartels. The suspects will face charges in California, Texas, Florida and Georgia, Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office said in a news release.
U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza praised the action as another example of President Felipe Calderón’s determination to go after cartels. Since taking office in 2006, Calderón has made it a priority to extradite drug suspects, who previously would operate from their Mexican jail cells.
For Full Story