The Richardson pay-to-play investigation being conducted by the US Attorney in New Mexico, has been killed by “top Justice Department officials” in Washington:
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former high-ranking members of his administration won’t be criminally charged in a yearlong federal investigation into pay-to-play allegations involving one of the Democratic governor’s large political donors, someone familiar with the case said.
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. . .
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Albuquerque said he had no information about the Justice Department’s decision and couldn’t comment.
This smells really bad, particularly coming on the heels of the DOJ’s dismissal of voter-intimidation charges against the Black Panthers (after the case was already won), and its opening of a witch-hunt against CIA investigators.
UPDATE: The NYT contradicts the AP, saying that the US Attorney decided to close the investigation. I’m not sure how to reconcile that with his spokesman’s statement that had had no information about the Justice Department’s decision.
UPDATE: Under DOJ rules, the US Attorney is supposed to have final say over a local corruption case. For Washington officials to end a case violates DOJ rules.