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          Front Page




Web Has Bill Richardson on the Run in 2008

By Michael Coleman
Journal Washington Bureau
    WASHINGTON— Gov. Bill Richardson hasn't announced plans to run for president in 2008, but at least two people have bought Internet domain names that would fit the bill.
    At least eight different Richardson-related Web site domain names, including "billrichardsonforpresident.com" and "billrichardson08.com," have been registered with Network Solutions, a Virginia-based company that sells the names.
    At least seven of the domains were registered by Miguel Lausell, a business partner of Joe Velasquez, who was a paid consultant on Richardson's 2000 gubernatorial campaign.
    Richardson's deputy chief-of-staff, Billy Sparks, said Tuesday that the governor had nothing to do with the domain name registrations.
    "This was done without the knowledge, input or support of the governor or his staff," Sparks said. "There are a lot of things on the Web (related to Richardson) that are not authorized by the governor."
    The Richardson-related Internet domain names were registered by Lausell in July 2003.
    Lausell, a Washington lawyer and former adviser to President Clinton, was out of the country on Tuesday and could not be reached for comment. Velasquez referred all questions to Lausell.
    Lausell and Velasquez are partners at Velaquez, Magana and Lausell, a political consulting firm that specializes in Hispanic issues. Velasquez said he had done consulting work for Richardson between 2000 and 2003, and that the governor had never employed the firm directly.
    Richardson has said he plans to run for re-election as New Mexico governor in 2006, but has not ruled out a run for the White House in 2008.
    "I'm not ruling anything out," he said in an interview with the Journal earlier this year. "But I'm not focused on it, really."
    One of the domains— richardsonforpresident.net— is registered to Jeff Neslar of Buffalo Grove, Ill. Neslar, reached by phone Monday, said he registered the domain name, which he said cost $10 per year, because he's a fan of Richardson.
    "I think at some point he'll run for president," Neslar said.
    Neslar said he's never met Richardson, but if the governor wanted to purchase the domain he would consider selling it to him.