Rendell, Too, Has Ties To Firm That Derailed Richardson Pick

Since Bill Richardson withdrew as Commerce Secretary nominee, citing the investigation into CDR Financial Products, there’s been speculation (I know, I know, it’s the Spectator) that he might not be the only prominent elected official who received political contributions from the company, and also contracted with it for government business.

And it looks like he isn’t.

Recent reports have noted that Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell received significant contributions from CDR founder David Rubin — whose company’s various run-ins with the law are beginning to attract scrutiny.

Today the Pittsburgh Tribune Review puts those contributions at $35,000. But it also reveals that CDR does indeed have a contract – a no-bid contract, to be precise — with a state agency, which appears to be similar to the one it has with a New Mexico government agency.

The paper reports:

Gov. Ed Rendell was not aware that the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency awarded a $160,000 no-bid contract in 2003 to a California company headed by a member of his transition team for the state Department of Revenue, his spokesman said today.

Since then, CDR Financial Products has collected an estimated $770,000 as financial advisor to the housing agency, said Brian Hudson, the agency’s executive director. Its contract is for $45,000, Hudson said.

A story (via nexis) that appeared in The Bond Buyer, a trade publication, in May of 2006 sheds a bit more light on that contract. The story reports that:

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency [will issue] $150 million in single-family mortgage debt starting Wednesday to help fund home loans for residents with low to moderate incomes.

CDR Financial Products is the agency’s swap adviser.

An earlier statement given to the paper by Rendell’s office also described the governor’s relationship with Rubin as “tangential”. But it did not mention that, as the Tribune-Review noted, Rubin served on Rendell’s 2003 transition team when Rendell was preparing to become governor. Rubin is still touting the appointment on his company’s website.

As we noted yesteday, CDR was also found to have paid for the then-Treasurer of the city of Philadelphia, Corey Kemp, to attend the 2003 Super Bowl. Kemp is currently serving a jail sentence on a corruption conviction, though CDR was not charged with wrong-doing.

CDR won its contract with the city without a competitive bidding process.

Rendell was mayor of Philadelphia until 2000, though no evidence has yet emerged that the city’s contract with CDR dates to his tenure as mayor.

Late update: Hudson tells TPMmuckraker he wasn’t contacted by the governor’s office in regard to CDR.