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Beverly Hills Firm’s Ties To Richardson Probed

A Beverly Hills-based company  is  being examined by a federal grand jury looking into contributions the firm made to political committees formed by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

The grand jury apparently  is investigating if the contributions that CDR Financial Products made had any impact on a New Mexico government contract that CDR landed from the state.

According to reports, CDR received $1.48 million in 2004-05 for work done through the New Mexico Finance Authority. The authority is a government agency that issues bonds and finances building and public works projects throughout New Mexico.

CDR was involved in helping put together a deal for a transportation and highway program.

According to reports, CDR and Chief Executive Officer David Rubin gave  at least $110,000 to three political groups created by Richardson, the largest of which was a reported $75,000 from CDR given to a committee that helped pay expenses for Richardson’s staff and supporters at the 2004 Democratic convention, of which Richardson was chairman.

Rubin reportedly contributed $25,000 in October 2003 to a political committee called Moving America Forward that was backed by  Richardson. That donation apparently came at a time when the New Mexico legislature was discussing the transportation construction program.

Rubin also donated $10,000 to Richardson’s re-election campaign, reports said.

Calls to CDR seeking comment were not returned. However, CDR spokesman Allan Ripp was quoted last week as saying that the company received the financing contract in a “rigorous and thoroughly vetted” process.

To suggestions that the firm was chosen as a result of “pay to play” dealings with the Richardson administration,  “the firm would assert that it’s ridiculous and offensive to suggest that.”

Richardson is President-elect Barack Obama’s choice to lead the U.S. Department of Commerce. He has to be given approval by both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.

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