OK, just to put the nail in the coffin of any claims that the decision by the Justice Department to drop the pay-to-play investigation of New Mexico governor Bill Richardson was political:
The New York Times reports that the U.S. attorney’s office sent an official letter to witnesses before the grand jury, informing them that charges would not be brought against Richardson or his aides. “Top Justice Department officials,” added the Times, “concurred with Mr. Fouratt’s decision to drop the inquiry.”
The letter did also say that “pressure from the governor’s office resulted in the corruption of the procurement process” and added that the letter “should not be interpreted as exoneration of any party’s conduct in that matter.” But that’s a long way from offering support for the notion — eagerly pushed by Republicans — that political appointees at DOJ acted to protect an Obama ally.
Yesterday, we told you that a source had told the AP that the probe was “killed in Washington.” But a veteran Washington lawyer confirms to TPMmuckraker that it would be standard practice for career prosecutors at main Justice to officially sign off on the decision to drop a public corruption investigation of this nature.