Allahpundit brings us the rumor du jour, that outgoing New Mexico governor Bill Richardson may be on deck to replace Secretary of State Clinton:
This is one of those rumors, I think, that starts hopping simply because it makes sense, not because there’s any hard evidence to support it. Although there is plenty of circumstantial evidence: Richardson was just in Pyongyang to sound out North Korea about its nuclear program; he was a leading candidate for SoS back in 2008 before Hillary got the job; he has foreign policy experience, having served as Clinton’s ambassador to the UN in the 1990s; his term as governor of New Mexico ends in a week; and, of course, there’s been lots of buzz lately about The One shaking up his staff, with Axelrod and Bob Gates sure to depart this year and Gibbs likely to go too. Hillary and Gates also work famously well together, so maybe Obama’s thinking that if he’s leaving soon, it’s best to just replace the whole team and bring in a new SecDef and SecState all at once. And don’t forget that Richardson threw Obama a major bone by endorsing him in March 2008, a betrayal that stunned Team Clinton. The One owes him.
AP then covers the politics of the situation with his usual perspicacity; be sure to read his post. To my mind, it wouldn’t be an unreasonable change, in the context of this administration and the people involved: Hillary’s been giving signals that she wants to retire, and Richardson is more of a dove, making him more in tune with The One’s foreign policy instincts.
But Richardson has another qualification for the Cabinet besides being owed by Obama and a foreign policy softy — corruption. In 2008-09, Governor Richardson was under federal investigation in a pay-to-play scheme, as Michelle Malkin detailed in her Culture of Corruption:
The feds had been digging into a nationwide web of favor-trading between financial firms and politicians overseeing local government bond markets. CDR was tied to a doomed bond deal in Alabama which, according to Bloomberg News, threatened to cause the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. CDR raked in nearly $1.5 million in fees from a New Mexico state financial agency after donating more than $100,000 to Richardson’s efforts to register Hispanic and American Indian voters and to pay for expenses at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, the news service reported. The state agency that awarded the money consisted of five Richardson appointees and five members of his gubernatorial cabinet. CDR made contributions both shortly before and after securing consultant work with the state of New Mexico. CDR’s president also contributed $29,000 to Obama’s presidential campaign.
As Malkin shows, the incoming Obama administration knew all about the investigation, but still nominated Richardson to be Secretary of Commerce. It took over a month before they finally tossed him under the proverbial bus.
Oh, and the investigation? The Justice Department dropped it in August,2009:
The decision not to pursue indictments was made by top Justice Department officials, according to a person familiar with the investigation, who asked not to be identified because federal officials had not disclosed results of the probe.
“It’s over. There’s nothing. It was killed in Washington,” the person told The Associated Press.
Now, who was the Attorney General when this decision was made? Oh, yeah…
If Richardson does replace Clinton, he’ll fit right in.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)