President Obama's second choice, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), withdrew his name on 12 February 2009, citing "irresolvable conflicts," after the White House announced it would be co-running the Census Bureau, a significant part of the Commerce Department. Census data drives Congressional realignment every 10 years. Democrats and Republicans differ on how to count the nation's population. The statistics are instrumental in "population-driven financing formulas," which are expected to shift billions in federal spending.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was the first nominee for secretary of commerce in the Obama administration. He withdrew his name from consideration on 4 January 2009 because of an ongoing federal investigation into the possible link between political donations and a lucrative state contract. A federal grand jury is investigating CDR Financial Products, which contributed more than $110,000 to Richardson committees. Subsequently the firm was awarded a transportation contract worth nearly $1.5 million.