Ken Leighton 5 p.m., Jan. 24
At Confirmation Hearings, Will Bill Richardson Be Asked about His Role as Peregrine Board Member?
As expected, President-elect Barack Obama named New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as secretary of commerce today (Dec. 4). Richardson may get a grilling at upcoming confirmation hearings. He was a key player in the Clinton administration, and came under fire for offering Monica Lewinsky a job at the United Nations. More tellingly, Richardson was a board member of the former scandal-plagued Peregrine Systems from February 2001 to June 2002 -- a time in which the board was trying to put a lid on the scandal that eventually brought the company down. In 2002, when running for New Mexico governor, Richardson said that he was not at fault because he was a so-called "outside director." As Bill Clinton used to say, "That ol' dog don't hunt anymore." Richardson attended 15 board meetings; in some, directors heard that the company might get caught cooking the books. Peregrine's chief executive, Stephen Gardner, who confessed his role in the massive fraud, is the brother-in-law of Richardson's wife. While Richardson was on the board, Gardner regularly told directors that Peregrine was in trouble, but the public knew nothing about it.
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