WASHINGTON - Justice Department officials, a spokesman for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, and representatives of President-elect Barack Obama yesterday declined to comment on reports that a federal grand jury in Albuquerque is investigating whether swap adviser CDR Financial Products Inc. made payments to political action committees run by Richardson in exchange for state municipal derivatives business.

The grand jury probe involving contributions to PACs of Richardson, Obama's nominee to head the Commerce Department, was first reported by Bloomberg News and comes amid a federal investigation of alleged bid-rigging, price-fixing, and other practices in the municipal market that violate antitrust laws.

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