5 Jan 2009

Richardson withdraws from running for official role

3:12 pm on 5 January 2009

Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico has withdrawn as President-elect Barack Obama's choice for United States commerce secretary.

NBC News reported on Sunday this was due to an investigation into a company that has done business with the state government in New Mexico.

The network quoted Mr Obama as saying he accepted Governor Richardson's decision with "deep regret".

Governor Richardson, 61, served as US ambassador to the United Nations and energy secretary during the Clinton administration. He said the investigation would have caused a long delay in the confirmation process.

The Washington Post reported in December that a federal grand jury in Albuquerque is investigating whether a financial firm improperly won more than $US1.4 million in work for the state of New Mexico, shortly after making contributions to political action committees of Governor Richardson.