NM Dems Riled About Allegations of Judgeships for Sale

Tuesday, 24 May 2011 05:02 PM

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New Mexico Democrats, including former Gov. Bill Richardson, are chafing at the repeated mention of their names in connection with an unfolding bribery scandal, The Wall Street Journal reports. The indictment of a local judge and a state agency's lawsuits against Democratic donors have combined in recent weeks to cast more unflattering light on Richardson’s two terms in office.

Richardson, who denies any wrongdoing, labels any insinuation that he traded campaign contributions for judgeships and state business “outrageous and defamatory.”

On May 13, a district judge was indicted for bribery after allegedly telling colleagues that anyone who wanted a judgeship in New Mexico had to give money to the state Democratic Party and to then-Gov. Richardson’s campaign organization.

Also this month, the New Mexico State Investment Council sued a number of Richardson donors, charging that they made political contributions in exchange for a piece of the state’s investment business.

“In recent years, a cascade of political corruption scandals has put state Democrats on the defensive,” the Journal reports. “Their woes include indictments of at least a half-dozen prominent state officeholders and a long-running federal probe of alleged pay-to-play practices in the Richardson administration that ended without any charges against Mr. Richardson.”

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