Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.) has withdrawn from his nomination as commerce secretary in President-elect Barack Obama’s Cabinet. In a Jan. 5 news conference, Richardson stated that an ongoing federal grand jury investigation into a state contract related to Governor Richardson’s Investment Partnership (GRIP), won by Beverly Hills, Calif.-based CDR Financial Products, “would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process.” The investigation centers around a $1.48-million consulting contract CDR won in 2004 with the New Mexico Finance Authority, a state agency that finances infrastructure projects. CDR was part of a team of financial services firms that advised NMFA on interest-rate swaps and refinancing of funds related to the $1.6-billion GRIP bond program, which was approved by the New Mexico Legislature in 2003 to fund transportation projects. CDR made contributions to several political action committees associated with Richardson around the same time it won the NMFA contract. Richardson denies any “pay-for-play” arrangements.