(via Huffington Post) New Mexico Governor and nominee for Commerce Secretary, Bill Richardson, has withdrawn his nomination due to the fact that he is currently under grand jury investigation. The investigation seeks to determine whether a company that has contributed funds to support Richardson's political endeavors has inappropriately been awarded contracts by the state of New Mexico. The contracts are for amounts in excess of $1 billion.
While these revelations are nothing short of a shame, at the very least, and perhaps an embarrassment for President-elect Obama, this marks a stark contrast between the outgoing Bush Administration and the incoming Obama team. Given the Bush Administration's penchant for awarding no-bid contracts to politically connected corporations, activity such as Richardson's would probably have earned him serious brownie points, if not a Presidential Medal of Freedom, had Richardson been a loyal Republican in the service of Bush.
While Richardson maintains his innocence, he has chosen to withdraw so as not to allow the investigation to interfere with the Commerce Department's activities or with the formal formation of Obama's Cabinet.