In the wake of the news on the end of the federal probe involving Gov. Bill Richardson, former Richardson chief of staff Dave Contarino just sent this statement.
"As the Governor and I have said from the beginning, we acted appropriately and ethically at all times and a fair and impartial investigation would bear out those facts," Contarino wrote.
This investigation has gone on for over a year. I want to acknowledge and thank the literally hundreds of friends in NM and across the country who have supported me through this ordeal. Their faith and belief in me-and in Governor Richardson-were a source of great strength through the long months of headlines, rumors, baseless accusations and efforts by some to exploit this investigation for personal and political gain.
I worked tirelessly as a public servant and have given my time and energy to help improve the lives of New Mexicans. I hope that my year-long ordeal does not deter others from dedicating themselves to public service.
I am happiest for Governor Richardson who, in the face of all this, continued to make a positive difference-every day-in the lives of New Mexican citizens," Contarino said.
While the probe may be over in one sense, it's not over in a political one. Republicans today continued to keep the pressure on Richardson and Lt. Gov. Diane Denish.
"While it is disappointing that Bill Richardson escaped indictment for actions which have been confirmed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, it is more disappointing that some are attempting to spin this news as an absolution of wrongdoing,” state GOP Chairman Harvey Yates Jr said in a statement. “Statements by the U.S. Attorney indicate quite the opposite, so will Diane Denish stand by her claim that this is ‘good news’ for New Mexicans?”
Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney Greg Fouratt told the Associated Press that the decision not to bring charges "is not to be interpreted as an exoneration of any party's conduct."
Read Barry Massey's story on that news here.