Rich Galen

There is no reason to think that Richardson is going to be indicted in this scandal. No reason to think he's not, either. But, nominations for Cabinet Secretary have been withdrawn for a lot less. The first 317 candidates for Attorney-General suggested by Bill Clinton had to withdraw because they hadn't withheld taxes on the wages they had paid their nannies.

To be fair, George W. Bush's first selection for Labor Secretary, Linda Chavez, had to step aside for the same reason.

And Bernie Kerik, Bush's choice to succeed Tom Ridge as Secretary of Homeland Security, bailed out because, according to the NY Times, "a nanny he had employed appeared to have been in the country illegally and that he had failed to pay taxes on her behalf."

Not paying Social Security and FICA for a nanny is pretty small beans compared to a federal grand jury investigating whether anyone bribed anyone in order to secure get a no-bid, sole-source contract - oops - deal with the State of New Mexico.

One can only hope that the national press corps, which has been so vigorously covering the transition, peels the "Elect Obama" strips off its collective bumpers just long enough to find out who in Obama-land knew what, and - to misquote Sen. Howard Baker - when did they know it?

Bill Richardson walking away from the Commerce job is probably best for everyone. It puts one fewer foreign policy expert (in addition to Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton and Vice-President-elect Joe Biden) in Cabinet meetings. Obama gets credit for nominating a high-profile Hispanic. And Richardson can grow that cheesy beard again.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at