Was Decision To Drop Richardson Case Political? Looks Like No

Lauren Victoria Burke

Earlier we noted an AP report in which an anonymous source claimed the pay-to-play probe of New Mexico governor Bill Richardson “was killed in Washington,” implying that political appointees at DOJ acted on behalf of an Obama ally.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment to TPMmuckraker. But reports by the New York Times and Washington Post seem to largely knock down that suggestion.The Times reports that the decision came from “federal prosecutors,” and that “Justice Department officials concurred with the prosecutors’ decision.”

The Post, meanwhile, reports:

Prosecutors in New Mexico sent their findings to Justice Department headquarters in Washington, where career prosecutors concluded that an indictment was not warranted…

In other words, both papers attribute the prime decision to non-partisan prosecutors, not to political appointees.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped the New Mexico GOP — not known for its restraint — from trying to make hay out of the story, asking in a press release: “Was this decision made contrary to the advice of experienced, non-political, career prosecutors and the FBI?”

Based on what we know right now, it looks like the answer is no.