At the close of the Clinton administration, Richardson signed on as a senior managing director with Kissinger McLarty Associates,
joined the boards of three large oil companies:
- Houston-based Diamond Offshore Drilling, a company once run by George Herbert Walker Bush;
- Denver-based Venoco; and
- Valero, North America's largest independent refinery. Until recently, Richardson held Valero stock worth between $100,001 and $250,000 and options valued between $250,001 and $500,000, according to disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission. He divested himself of his stake in Valero in May, saying his financial ties to the company had become a "distraction" to his presidential campaign.
Currently, he is one of the leading recipients of campaign contributions from oil and gas companies among the presidential contenders.