Photo: Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson Faces Grand Jury Questions About Campaign Finances
The 2008 presidential campaign of Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico, is currently under investigation by a federal grand jury for suspected campaign-finance violations.
As details of the case came to light, so too did the allegation that Richardson, 64, had his supporters pay off a woman claiming he had an affair. Prosecutors claim the $250,000 pay off basically amounts to a campaign contribution, as it was meant to aid his run for the Oval Office, and since it was not reported, he violates campaign finance law.
The woman at the center of the case claims Richardson had an extra-marital affair with her. In 2007, she considered suing him, but chose not to after receiving the money.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
Those familiar with the case say prosecutors are seeking to prove that the alleged payment to the woman was a de facto campaign contribution to Mr. Richardson, intended to further his bid for higher office. In that case, the alleged payment could have violated federal campaign-finance law if it was not reported and did not comply with limits on political donations.
The pay off is not the only reason Richardson’s campaign finances were being investigated. Prosecutors are also calling in to question a controversial road project approved by Richardson, as a political contributor saw direct benefit from it.