JANUARY 05, 2009
The day after an Obama cabinet pick gets exposed for enacting legislation to benefit one of her politically famous husband’s benefactors, another withdrew under investigation for giving a shady company a lucrative state contract after it donated big bucks to his political action committee.
The two separate incidents mark the latest of several scandals to come out of Barack Obama’s supposedly smooth transition camp. First, Hillary Clinton’s hometown newspaper reported that the nation’s future Secretary of State helped enact legislation to benefit a Bill Clinton Foundation donor. The New York senator also helped secure millions of dollars in federal assistance for the donor’s project.
The developer (Robert Congel) had given $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation when Hillary helped pass legislation allowing him to use tax-exempt bonds to help finance his entertainment and shopping project in Syracuse. The former First Lady also helped secure $5 million in federal assistance for the project via a highway bill.
A day later, media outlets around the world reported that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson withdrew his nomination as Commerce Secretary amid a corruption scandal currently under federal investigation. Launched in mid December, the grand jury probe is looking into how a California-based company with a history of doing bad work got a coveted state contract In New Mexico.
The firm (CDR Financial Products Inc.) had pushed an Alabama county into potential municipal bankruptcy when New Mexico’s Finance Authority—which is controlled by the governor—suspiciously rewarded it a $1.5 million contract to do similarly bad work there. CDR Financial Products had just given Richardson a generous $100,000 to, among other things, help pay for expenses at the 2004 Democratic Convention.
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