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Donor to Richardson Also Gave To Obama

Associated Press
Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The president of a California financial firm, whose political donations sparked an investigation that prompted New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) to drop out of the incoming Obama administration, also gave generously to the Democratic Party and the president-elect.

David Rubin gave $26,200 to the Democratic Party on Sept. 19 and $2,300 to Barack Obama's campaign on Sept. 30, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission. In February, Rubin gave $1,000 to Obama's campaign.

Rubin has given more than $200,000 in federal election campaigns since 1995, almost all of it to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit group that tracks political donations.

Rubin and his company donated $100,000 in 2003-2004 to political action committees linked to Richardson. Rubin's company then won a state contract in New Mexico to help finance $1.4 billion for highway and transportation projects, a contract that brought $1.5 million in business for the company, CDR Financial Products.

A federal grand jury is looking into the contract, and Richardson cited that investigation Sunday for his withdrawal from consideration as commerce secretary.

CDR said in a statement that the investigation concerns whether Rubin's contributions might have been made to obtain favored status for the company in seeking work as a financial adviser to the state.

"CDR has never practiced pay-for-play, on any playing field where we do business," the company's statement said.

Obama's transition office did not respond to requests for comment.

On Sept. 17, two days before the donation to the Democratic National Committee, Rubin was on a list of participants in an $11 million Hollywood fundraiser on behalf of Obama, which included numerous celebrities. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jeffrey Katzenberg were among the hundreds of luminaries, according to Entertainment Weekly.

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