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Possible Pay-to-Play Dealings with Beverly Hills Firm Leads to Richardson's Withdrawal

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Even before President-elect Barack Obama nominated New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to be his Secretary of Commerce, a grand jury investigation was under way regarding Richardson's hiring of Beverly Hills-based CDR Financial Products. CDR won a lucrative contract to advise the New Mexico Financial Advisory in 2004, but not before donating $100,000 to two Richardson organizations.

He will continue to serve as governor although the investigation may "extend for several weeks or, perhaps, even months," according to a joint statement from Richardson and Obama.

CDR has been federally investigated at least twice for allegedly bribing government officials to allow the company to sell municipal bonds.