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Rep. Renzi Indicted

Rep. Rick Renzi (R) was indicted today on multiple charges by a federal grand jury looking into a controversial land deal in his home state of Arizona. Here is a copy of the indictment.

Rep. Rick Renzi of Arizona
Will the indicted congressman resign? (AP File Photo)

Under heavy pressure from House GOP leaders, Renzi had already announced that he would not run for re-election, as news of the Justice Department's probe had crippled him politically.

Renzi is one of roughly two-dozen Arizona "co-chairs" of Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign. So far, McCain has not put out a statement today on Renzi's indictment, though he did say on the campaign trail that he was "disappointed."

Renzi, 49, the father of 12 who was first elected to the House in 2002, was charged along with James Sandlin, a political supporter, and attorney Andrew Beardall, who had worked as general counsel of Renzi's family insurance business.

The federal indictment alleges that Renzi offered to sponsor a bill to help a company seeking to swap land with the federal government if it purchased property owned by Sandlin. Renzi, who served on a House committee that had to approve such deals, told the company that he wouldn't support the request if it didn't buy the land, according to the indictment. No deal was made.

Later, Renzi pressured another investment group, which was also seeking approval of a land exchange, to purchase the property, according to federal prosecutors. That group agreed to buy 480 acres from Sandlin for $4.6 million, the government said.

At the time, according to court papers, Sandlin owed Renzi $700,000. Renzi also was having financial difficulties, the government said.

"These charges represent allegations that Congressman Renzi defrauded the public of his unbiased, honest services as an elected official," said Alice Fisher, the assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's criminal division.

Renzi's attorneys - Reid H. Weingarten of Steptoe & Johnson and Kelly B. Kramer of Nixon Peabody - released a statement Friday proclaiming their client's innocence.

"Congressman Renzi did nothing wrong. We will fight these charges until he is vindicated and his family's name is restored," they said.

The two attorneys also protested that the Justice Department had charged Renzi while he was still mourning his father, Army Maj. Gen. Eugene Carmen Renzi, who passed away Feb. 9 and was buried Thursday.

"We are disappointed that the Department of Justice would not allow a decent amount of time to pass to allow a son to mourn the passing of his father," Weingarten and Kramer said.

Since his party lost control of Congress in the 2006 elections at least partly because of the corruption issue, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) has worked to take a harder line on members who are accused of ethical transgressions.

Boehner said in a statement: "The charges contained in this indictment are completely unacceptable for a Member of Congress, and I strongly urge Rep. Renzi to seriously consider whether he can continue to effectively represent his constituents under these circumstances. I expect to meet with Rep. Renzi at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss this situation and the best option for his constituents, our Conference, and the American people."

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a statement calling on Renzi to "do what is best for his constituents." Democrats did not call publicly for Renzi to resign, likely because Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) has remained in Congress since his indictment.

Here's a good summary of the allegations against Renzi that ultimately led to these charges.

Renzi was elected to Congress in 2002 in his first bid for office. During his first camapign, Renzi portrayed himself as a "hometown, Flagstaff boy," although in fact he spent most of his life outside Arizona's 1st congressional district. In 1986 he moved to Virginia to work for the Defense Department and in 1989 he founded an insurance business. In 1999 he declared himself an Arizona resident, and he later bought a house in Flagstaff, where he owned a real estate investment firm, and registered as a Republican.

Following a redistricting of the state, Renzi jumped into a race for the new 1st District and won in a crowded field of Republicans and Democrats. In the House, Renzi typically voted with conservatives and focused largely on issues of local concern to his state and Indian tribal concerns. One of his bills proposed an exchange of more than 56,000 acres of Forest Service and private lands to expand the Flagstaff airport, but that plan became bogged down in disputes.

Last year, his dealings brought unwelcome attention. He became involved in the controversy surrounding the Bush administration's firing of U.S. attorneys, after his spokesman acknowledged calling one of the fired prosecutors to ask about press accounts of a pending indictment. And in April, Renzi's wife's insurance business was raided by the FBI. Renzi denied any wrongdoing but he took a leave of absence from his three House committees. In August, he announced he would not seek a fourth term.

More background on the Renzi case here.

By Ben Pershing  |  February 22, 2008; 4:05 PM ET
Categories:  Ethics and Rules , House  
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Comments

More Republican corruption. That party is a bottomless pit of bribery, kickbacks and extortion.

Posted by: mnjam | February 22, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Conservative Republican Rick Renzi is just another corrupt to the hilt SOB politician like the rest of them. Who cares if he buried his father. There are one too many other people that bury their loved one and others that are losing their homes and this scum bag so called law maker.

Posted by: Winemaster2 | February 22, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

This land deal is remarkable similar to the one Harry Reid had done in Nevada. Are the feds scared of looking into Dirty Harry?

Posted by: Karen | February 22, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn't personally owned the property for three years, property deeds show.
In the process, Reid did not disclose to Congress an earlier sale in which he transferred his land to a company created by a friend and took a financial stake in that company, according to records and interviews.

The Nevada Democrat's deal was engineered by Jay Brown, a longtime friend and former casino lawyer whose name surfaced in a major political bribery trial this summer and in other prior organized crime investigations. He's never been charged with wrongdoing--except for a 1981 federal securities complaint that was settled out of court.

Land deeds obtained by The Associated Press during a review of Reid's business dealings show:

_The deal began in 1998 when Reid bought undeveloped residential property on Las Vegas' booming outskirts for about $400,000. Reid bought one lot outright, and a second parcel jointly with Brown. One of the sellers was a developer who was benefiting from a government land swap that Reid supported. The seller never talked to Reid.

_In 2001, Reid sold the land for the same price to a limited liability corporation created by Brown. The senator didn't disclose the sale on his annual public ethics report or tell Congress he had any stake in Brown's company. He continued to report to Congress that he personally owned the land.

_After getting local officials to rezone the property for a shopping center, Brown's company sold the land in 2004 to other developers and Reid took $1.1 million of the proceeds, nearly tripling the senator's investment. Reid reported it to Congress as a personal land sale.

The complex dealings allowed Reid to transfer ownership, legal liability and some tax consequences to Brown's company without public knowledge, but still collect a seven-figure payoff nearly three years later.

Reid hung up the phone when questioned about the deal during an AP interview last week.

The senator's aides said no money changed hands in 2001 and that Reid instead got an ownership stake in Brown's company equal to the value of his land. Reid continued to pay taxes on the land and didn't disclose the deal because he considered it a "technical transfer," they said.

They also said they have no documents proving Reid's stake in the company because it was an informal understanding between friends.

The 1998 purchase "was a normal business transaction at market prices," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said. "There were several legal steps associated with the investment during those years that did not alter Senator Reid's actual ownership interest in the land."

Senate ethics rules require lawmakers to disclose on their annual ethics report all transactions involving investment properties--regardless of profit or loss--and to report any ownership stake in companies.

Kent Cooper, who oversaw government disclosure reports for federal candidates for two decades in the Federal Election Commission, said Reid's failure to report the 2001 sale and his ties to Brown's company violated Senate rules.

"This is very, very clear," Cooper said. "Whether you make a profit or a loss you've got to put that transaction down so the public, voters, can see exactly what kind of money is moving to or from a member of Congress."

"It is especially disconcerting when you have a member of the leadership, of either party, not putting in the effort to make sure this is a complete and accurate report," said Cooper. "That says something to other members. It says something to the Ethics Committee."

Other parts of the deal--such as the informal handling of property taxes--raise questions about possible gifts or income reportable to Congress and the IRS, ethics experts said.

Stanley Brand, former Democratic chief counsel of the House, said Reid should have disclosed the 2001 sale and that his omission fits a larger culture in Congress where lawmakers aren't following or enforcing their own rules.

"It's like everything else we've seen in last two years. If it is not enforced, people think it's not enforced and they get lax and sloppy," Brand said.

SALE HIDDEN FROM CONGRESS

Reid and his wife, Landra, personally signed the deeds selling their full interest in the property to Brown's company, Patrick Lane LLC, for the same $400,000 they paid in 1998, records show.

Despite the sale, Reid continued to report on his public ethics reports that he personally owned the land until it was sold again in His disclosure forms to Congress do not mention an interest in Patrick Lane or the company's role in the 2004 sale.

AP first learned of the transaction from a former Reid aide who expressed concern the deal hadn't been properly reported.

Reid isn't listed anywhere on Patrick Lane's corporate filings with Nevada, even though the land he sold accounted for three-quarters of the company's assets. Brown is listed as the company's manager. Reid's office said Nevada law didn't require Reid to be mentioned in the filings.

"We have been friends for over 35 years. We didn't need a written agreement between us," Brown said.

The informalities didn't stop there.

PROPERTY TAXES LOOSELY HANDLED

Brown sometimes paid a share of the local property taxes on the lot Reid owned outright between 1998 and 2001, while Reid sometimes paid more than his share of taxes on the second parcel they co-owned.

And the two men continued to pay the property taxes from their personal checking accounts even after the land was sold to Patrick Lane in 2001, records show.

Brown said Reid first approached him in 1997 about land purchases and the two men considered the two lots a single investment.

"During the years of ownership, there may have been occasions that he advanced the property taxes, or that I advanced the property taxes," Brown said. "The bottom line is that between ourselves we always settled up and each of us paid our respective percentages."

Ultimately, Reid paid about 74 percent of the property taxes, slightly less than his actual 75.1 ownership stake, according to canceled checks kept at the local assessor's office. One year, the property tax payments were delinquent and resulted in a small penalty, the records show.

Ethics experts said such informality raises questions about whether any of Brown's tax payments amounted to a benefit for Reid. "It might be a gift," Cooper said.

Brand said the IRS might view the handling of the land taxes as undisclosed income to Reid but it was unlikely to prompt an investigation. "If someone is paying a liability you owe, there may be some income imputed. But at that level, it's pretty small dollars," he said.

FEDERAL LAND SWAPS

Nevada land deeds show Reid and his wife first bought the property in January 1998 in a proposed subdivision created partly with federal lands transferred by the Interior Department to private developers.

Reid's two lots were never owned by the government, but the piece of land joining Reid's property to the street corner--a key to the shopping center deal--came from the government in 1994.

One of the sellers was Fred Lessman, a vice president of land acquisition at Perma-Bilt Homes.

Around the time of the 1998 sale, Lessman and his company were completing a complicated federal land transfer that also involved an Arizona-based developer named Del Webb Corp.

In the deal, Del Webb and Perma-Bilt purchased environmentally sensitive lands in the Lake Tahoe area, transferred them to the government and then got in exchange several pieces of valuable Las Vegas land.

Lessman was personally involved, writing a March 1997 letter to Interior lobbying for the deal. "This exchange has been through many trials and tribulations ... we do not need to create any more stumbling blocks," Lessman wrote.

For years, Reid also had been encouraging Interior to make land swaps on behalf of Del Webb, where one of his former aides worked.

In 1994, Reid wrote a letter with other Nevada lawmakers on behalf of Del Webb, and then met personally with a top federal land official in Nevada. That official claimed in media reports he felt pressured by the senator. Reid denied any pressure.

The next year, Reid collected $18,000 in political donations from Del Webb's political action committee and employees. Del Webb's efforts to get federal land dragged on.

In December 1996, Reid wrote a second letter on behalf of Del Webb, urging Interior to answer the company's concerns. The deal came together in summer and fall 1997, with Perma-Bilt joining in.

In January 1998--just days before he bought his land--Reid applauded the Lake Tahoe land transfers, saying they would create the "gateway to paradise."

None of Reid's letters mentioned Perma-Bilt. Reid's office said the senator never met Lessman nor discussed the Lake Tahoe land transfer or his personal land purchase. A real estate attorney handled the 1998 sale at arms-length, aides said.

"This land investment was completely unrelated to federal land swaps that took place in the mid-1990's," Manley said.

Lessman said he never talked to Reid or asked for his help before the 1998 land sale, and only met the senator years later at a public event. "Any suggestion that the land sale between Senator Reid and myself is somehow tied in with the Perma-Bilt exchange is completely absurd," Lessman said.

THE REZONING

Clark County intended for the property Reid owned to be used solely for new housing, records show. Just days before Reid sold the parcels to Brown's company, Brown sought permission in May 2001 to rezone the properties so a shopping center could be built.

Career zoning officials objected, saying the request was "inconsistent" with Clark County's master development plan. The town board in Spring Valley, where Reid's property was located, also voted 4-1 to reject the rezoning.

Brown persisted. The Clark County zoning board followed by the Clark County Commission voted to overrule the recommendation and approve commercial zoning. Such votes were common at the time.

Before the approval in September 2001, Brown's consultant told commissioners that Reid was involved. "Mr. Brown's partner is Harry Reid, so I think we have people in this community who you can trust to go forward and put a quality project before you," the consultant testified.

With the rezoning granted, Patrick Lane pursued the shopping center deal. On Jan. 20, 2004, the company sold the property to developers for $1.6 million. Today, a multimillion dollar retail complex sits on the land.

On Jan. 21, 2004, Reid received more than $1.1 million of the sale proceeds. Reid disclosed the money the following year on his Senate ethics report as a personal sale of land, not mentioning Patrick Lane.

A BUSINESS PARTNER'S PAST

Brown has been a behind-the-scenes power broker in Nevada for years, donating to Democrats, Republicans and charities. He represented a major casino in legal cases and dabbled in Nevada's booming real estate market.

Brown befriended Reid four decades ago, even before Reid served as chairman of the Nevada gaming commission and decided cases involving Brown's clients.

Brown's name has surfaced in federal investigations involving organized crime, casinos and political bribery since the 1980s.

This past summer, federal prosecutors introduced testimony at the bribery trial of former Clark County Commission chairman Dario Herrara that Brown had taken money from a Las Vegas strip club owner to influence the commission. Herrara was convicted of taking kickbacks. Brown was never called as a witness.

Brown declined to discuss past cases where his name surfaced, including Herrara. "The federal government investigated this whole matter thoroughly, and there was never any implication of impropriety on my part," he said.


Posted by: Karen | February 22, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

No matter what party he belongs to If he is convicted he should due the time.

And to the political hack talking about Republicans. lets get on with the prosucution of the real slime Demorats
(Freezer cash)Jefferson
Dingy Harry Ried
And the sleazyist off them All the Clintons

Posted by: Fred | February 22, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Karen's long oratory - if Reid should be targeted because of corruption, then by all means the feds should go after him. No person should be above the law in the US, including majority leaders, presidents and, hopefully, ex-presidents. However, considering the "absolutely" corrupt and generally successful attempts by this administration to subvert the Justice Department to a gaggle of partisan Republican lackeys, don't you think they would have gone after Reid long, long ago? The appearance of corruption, no matter how the facts seem to come together, is not an "absolute" case for corruption (as we have seen in the reluctance to go after the subversion of the Justice Department).

If Renzi appeared to do something illegal AND he was indicted AND he was directed by his party to step down, then the fact pattern has more than just an appearance of corruption. When Reid is indicted and told to step down, I will gladly say the same thing. Would you have done so about Renzi?

Posted by: Major Pain | February 22, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

If Reid is as dirty as Renzi, as Karen claims, and the Bush justice department isn't going after him, kind of indicates what a bunch of inept folks are running DoJ, doesn't it?

Posted by: castanea | February 22, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

The Party of Morality, God and Patriotism!!God's Own Party. Corruption, Hypocrisy and False Patriotism wrapped the American Flag and protected by a corporate media. At least he isn't a closeted gay like several other self-loathers..

Posted by: thebob.bob | February 22, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

A corrupt Republican? Who woulda thought?

Posted by: reporter1 | February 22, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I think the point here is that this is yet another corrupt politician. Americans are so sick of this kind of behavior that they are willing to support a new face, Obama, who promises to end this bs.

As my best friend says of politicians: "They all s uck."

Posted by: queenskid | February 22, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Surprise! Another GOP scandal!

I'm starting to lose track. I'll just assume every GOP Congressperson is a child molesting, closet gay meth addict who is accepting bribes from gay 14-year-old prostitutes to buy land for altar-boy/Congressional page brothels.

Does that about cover it?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 22, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the Bush Administration will go after another republican, but not Harry Reid. That's a good one. Well, I guess this is the kind of fantasy world you'd have to live in to vote republican in the first place.

Posted by: TheDukeStir | February 22, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Renzi's departed father was another corrupt government hack who used the revolving door of gov't. service/contractor/consultant/lobbyist to enrich himself. Justly, a disgraced family.

Posted by: raven | February 22, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Let's not forget good, ole Denny Hastert (R).

He bought some land in Illinois for $1 million, added a $200+ million, dead-of-night earmark to an Energy bill that brought a Federal highway exit close to his land, and then sold the land for $3 million.

What did the Republican-controlled House Ethics Committee do about fat, ole Denny and his taxpayer-funded windfall?

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Bupkus.

Posted by: pali2500 | February 22, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Karen...With hand-picked Republican lackeys pulling all the levers at Justice, don't you think Harry would be toast by now if they had some good dirt on him. The Justice department has the former Democratic governor in Alabama in hot water for much less. You guys used every fake indictment slime trick in the book to suppress voters so put a sock in it.

Posted by: willandjansdad | February 22, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

We may have to build new prisons to house all the Republican politicians going to jail.

Posted by: JOHN KLINE | February 22, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting the AP story, Karen.

The public should also be aware that, while not an indictable offense, Reid has ushered through several pieces of legislation in the last several years that have put our (federal) public lands in Nevada up for sale (or given them away for free)to facilitate land and water development projects in that state. There is lots of info on this issue on our website, particularly at http://www.westernlands.org/html/in_the_media.html

Posted by: Blaeloch | February 22, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Renzi's legacy extends beyond this. There was a campaign worker who was arrested for DWI, questions about his home ownership in Flagstaff, etc. He was elected by the gerrymandered district that evolved from JD Hayworth's anothe rpompous hack. Adios, Rickster.

Posted by: bill | February 22, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

As most of the Republicans and some Democrats have done the same thing over the past 7 years it's time for the White House and the corrupt Attorney General to put a stop to any charges of crimes committed. Look all of the Bush appointees lied under oath for their crimes and left getting great paying jobs. The US now will hire a political criminal before an honest qualified person. Our President/Vice President have committed War Crimes and allowed thousands of soldiers to die based on lies. One piece of good news. Dennis Hastert got his stolen money and left office quickly. Fingers Foley is free to continue molesting children. The only questions is what newspapers and Media are on the White House pay roll. We know Chris Tweety Matthews is as well as Andrea Mitchell as they have even out right lied to protect the White House. Propaganda is expensive these days as the White House uses taxpayers money for pay outs.

Posted by: Jackie | February 22, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

The posters who wish to turn Washington's profound culture of corruption into a partisan debate are welcome to do so, but the fact is that the list of Republicans v. Democrats in Congress who have gone on to finish their terms in prison is equally long.

Republicans. Democrats. Save your country from the professional political thieves, if you dare.

Posted by: Darden Cavalcade | February 22, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

The Arizona GOP is an organised crime ring and has been one since even before Charles Keating ran a harem of tame GOP legislators including John McCain. Before Keating, Kemper Marley was GOP godfather in Arizona. Marley was the patron of Cindy Hensley's family - now Cindy McCain.

Marley's most notable achievement was murdering an investigative journalist with a car bomb and getting away with it.

Marley and Keating made McCain as rich as Romney, but you'd never know it, because it's all in Cindy's name.

Posted by: OD | February 22, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Cindy's dad actually went to jail for Marley, one of 52 Marley employees to do so.
Marley himself was kept out of jail by a young lawyer called William Rendquist.

Posted by: OD | February 22, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Renzi is a backbench creep. He and his entire creepy family should go back to Arizona, where they belong. But no, just like all the other political creeps who are indicted and convicted, he will probably stay in Virginia and add his poisonous venom to our fair Commonwealth. Don't forget, his wife has some legal problems in Phoenix too.

I still wonder what caused the fire that damaged one of the houses on his "compound." Insurance money, Ricky? No, I forgot, his family fortune was not earned but illegally obtained.

"Raven" is correct, "a disgraced family." Unfortunately, Ricky has spawned many progeny to carry on that disgusting legacy.

Posted by: Michael1945 | February 22, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

This is not good news from McCain... Wow, Ron Paul may have a chance after all...

That is a man who would clean things up, at all levels of government, even the über-controlled Federal Reserve:

Watch Ron Paul take on Bernanke:
http://ronpaul.myfeedportal.com/viewarticle.php?articleid=37

Posted by: davidmwe | February 22, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

A Republican politician indicted on corruption charges? Unheard of!

Posted by: republicant | February 22, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

First: The charges boil down to this, basically. Renzi (who's already said he won't seek re-election) is charged with doing everything he can as a congressman to strong-arm others into buying land from his buddy James Sandlin -- Sandlin then allegedly kicked back sizable chunks of cash back to Renzi in a series of complicated financial transactions (thus the money laundering charge). The main details of these charges were reported by the Arizona papers and The Wall Street Journal last year.

Second: Yikes. In a completely separate matter, the indictment charges Renzi with a conspiracy to "embezzle and misappropriate client premiums [from his insurance company] to fund his congressional campaign."

Third: It's worth recalling that the Renzi case played a small role in the U.S. attorneys' firings scandal. One of the fired U.S. attorneys was Arizona's Paul Charlton. The investigation dates way back to June of 2005, but it did not surface publicly under shortly before the 2006 midterm elections. Renzi's people, obviously, weren't happy, and an aide to Renzi put in a call to Charlton (who in turn reported the contact to the Justice Department leadership).

And the Wall Street Journal later reported that investigators and prosecutors in Arizona had been frustrated with senior Justice Department officials' general reluctance to pursue the investigation. The thrust of the piece was that the investigation had been slow-rolled in the run-up to the election.


From TPM

Posted by: CRix | February 22, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Renzi's departed father was another corrupt government hack who used the revolving door of gov't. service/contractor/consultant/lobbyist to enrich himself. Justly, a disgraced family.

Posted by: raven | February 22, 2008 01:06 PM

----------------------------

Raven, you POS... Maj. General Gene Renzi was an outstanding person. His served his country with great distinction for more than three decades. He was a doting father and grandfather who was buried yesterday and will join his wife in heaven after being widowed for more than 20 years. Maj. Gen Renzi continued to serve his country and his shareholders with 100% commitment and enthusiasm, even after he retired from the military. He fostered enhanced relations with many parts of South and Central America. He gave himself and his resources to umpteen causes. Most importantly, he could brighten up any room he walked into. He would have met your hatred with nothing but kindness, despite the fact that he could kick you *ss.

He served God and his country, his family and his friends, and you should be ashamed for what you wrote.

I truly cannot believe you just wrote that. You are a classless, spineless, crude individual. it was certainly a pleasure to mourn my friend by reading your words. Here's hoping you hit some black ice tonight on the way home from work....

Posted by: Anonymous | February 22, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

IF Reid was declared so Corrupt by the Righty WIng Mean Machine.

Why did not the GOP Controlled Congress and Senate go after him..you were in power for 6 years..???

All that has been presented is HEARSAY...or maybe there was not a scant of truth to YOUR claims.

Issa y Yago

Posted by: Issa y Yago | February 22, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Renzi is a backbench creep. He and his entire creepy family should go back to Arizona, where they belong. But no, just like all the other political creeps who are indicted and convicted, he will probably stay in Virginia and add his poisonous venom to our fair Commonwealth.... "Raven" is correct, "a disgraced family." Unfortunately, Ricky has spawned many progeny to carry on that disgusting legacy.

Posted by: Michael1945 | February 22, 2008 01:45 PM
-----------------------------------

Oh the irony.... poisonous venom? Michael, has the pot ever met the kettle?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 22, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Another corrupt Republican headed for the slammer? Not even news anymore...just business as usual...the administration that was going to "bring morality back to the White House"....right!

Posted by: Nighthawk | February 22, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

And what was John "S&L" McCain disappointed about? That Renzi was so dumb he got caught? Man of integrity, my a$$....

Posted by: Nighthawk | February 22, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

geez, you Dems act like he stuck a cigar in an intern or lied to each and every one of us, or used campaign cash to pay for his teenaged male prostitute, or stashed cash in his freezer, or one of many other previous and still-to-come political scandals that taint both sides of the political aisle.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 22, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

How about sleazy and disgraced family?

From today's news:

Ethics cloud
Always distant, or reclusive, Renzi declined to let reporters chronicle his first days in office - a rite of passage for most new lawmakers, who welcome the publicity. He entered Congress a millionaire, according to Associated Press reports. Yet, a year later, a bank foreclosed on his Flagstaff house.

Among Renzi's first acts as a congressman was sponsorship of legislation to erase Fort Huachuca's obligation to preserve the San Pedro, a river that is not in his district. Environmental groups cried foul, but the law passed.

The legislation also raised eyebrows: Renzi's father, Army Gen. Eugene Renzi, had been commandant at Fort Huachuca before he became an executive with ManTech, a contractor at the base. ManTech had $450 million in contracts at the fort, with an option for $1.1 billion more. Its employees poured more money into Renzi's 2002 campaign than any other business, federal records show.

Posted by: raven | February 22, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I think we can make the following assumptions:

1. Most (though probably not all, depends on how you define it) of our elected officials are either incompetent in their positions, corrupt, or both. Generally speaking, however, no one (there's one huge exception, right at the TOP of the executive branch) who's stupid gets elected, at least more than once.

2. All of the appointed officials at what is laughingly called the Department of Justice are Republican hacks, venal, corrupt, incompetent, or some combination. Most important is that they are Republican hacks, who are PAID to defend their fellow Republicans, that being the new oath office. All references to defending the Constitution have been removed from the oath of office. Perhaps, they just cross their fingers, behind their backs, while they mouth the words to an oath they not only have no intention of defending, but plan to obliterate?

Under these circumstances, I think it's reasonably safe to assume that if the corrupt Rethuglican DOJ could find ANYTHING indictable on a Democrat (whether true or not, and since when did truth or honesty EVER have any effect on this motley crew) they would.

Ah yes, Republican scandals. Republicn Corrpution. Republican contempt for the intelligence of the American people.

The scandal that KEEPS on giving.

Meanwhile, indict. Convict. Evict from office.

Posted by: VA_Lady2008 | February 22, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

"GOP Scandal fatigue" has definitely set in. I don't even have much of a reaction to this, I'm sorry to say, and I used to live in AZ.
I guess we should expect the standard scripted response from McCain: Renzi will step down to distance himself, blah, blah, blah.
McCain is not the McCain of 8 years ago. Or maybe he still is and that's the problem.

Posted by: Gregoire | February 22, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Another crooked Repuke gets caught.

The Repukes are ALL crooks. Every last one of them.

RICO the GOP!!

Posted by: Tom3 | February 22, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Another corrupt Repuglican who hides behind a "patriotic" facade. Renzi is one of the Bushies who was loud and arrogant and aggressive in calling those against the Iraq war as "traitors". Renzi is a traitor to the American ideals of honesty and truth. Like the other Republicans caught in a scandal, Renzi must have thought that they are so powerful that they are above the law. The land deal scheme is quite convoluted that ordinary people (the working poor, middle class) just can't grapple with. Republicans should hang their heads in shame. Disgraceful.

Posted by: M. Stratas | February 22, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

As a constituent of this clown- I can't tell you how happy we are here in Coconino County to finally be rid of this carpetbagger crook!

Indited on 35 charges of extortion, wire fraud, conspiracy, embezzlement and other crimes...

Typical republican slime...

Posted by: HK | February 22, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

McCain, "disappointed" . Yeah, disappointed he got caught.

Posted by: elmerg | February 22, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand how the people of Arizona's 1st could keep electing and idiot such as Renzi. We got rid of George Allen after one term because he showed his true self and beliefs. You have had years to step on this maggot.

Posted by: VaHome | February 22, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

'Renzi, 49, the father of 12 who was first elected to the House in 2002, was charged along with James Sandlin, a political supporter, and attorney Andrew Beardall, who had worked as general counsel of Renzi's family insurance business.'

Don't you people see? He had to steal that money to feed his little rug rats. Did his wife ever get out of bed? Between stealing money and knocking up his wife, when did he have time to serve his people?

Posted by: Patrick NYC | February 22, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Karen-

Not workin' for ya, is it baby?

LOL LOL LOL

Posted by: HK | February 22, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Jesh! Does it ever end with these f'ers? What's worse is comments by people who try to ignore the fact that the party they voted in is their fault.

Posted by: dorklord | February 22, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Major Pain: Thanks for wasting considerable space on a story everyone already knows about.
Yes, Reid may very well have a problem, and if he does, he should be held accountable.
However, the TOPIC here is Rick Renzi, who has been under suspicion for some years now.
Why is it that whenever another one of the Sainted GOP Brigade gets in trouble, one an enabler has to bring up a Democrat who may or may not have an ethics problem?
Whether any of you GOP supporters like it or not, your party has major ethics problems, which make the Democrats' recent foibles look tame in comparison (and no, I'm not excusing disgraceful behavior by William Jefferson or any other crooked Demo, so don't bother with any attacks on that).
Sorry, Major Pain and Karen, but all the distraction on your part about Harry Reid cannot hide the fact that Mr. Renzi has been indicted. If he's acquited by a jury, then fine, and we wish him well.
But your attempts to spin this, Karen and Major Pain, are falling flat.
But please, stick to the topic here, OK?

Posted by: vegasgirl | February 22, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Somebody needs to look into the links among Kevin Messner, John Phelps, and Lurita Doan with this whole tawdry Renzi corruption. Doan is head of the General Servicew Administration (GSA). Messner was Renzi's Chief of Staff. Phelps was an AZ state official involved with emergency planning and the private business interests that Doan's company specialized in. She hired both of them at the GSA, where they still work. Messner is in charge of Congressional contacts for Doan and Phelps is her Chief of Staff at GSA. Coincidence?

Posted by: gilamonster | February 22, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Renzi's 12 rug rats are the most spoiled brats around. Because of what daddy does, they are above the law.

Posted by: DidYouHear? | February 22, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Why does it have to be about Dems vs. Repubs all the time? Rep. Renzi has been indicted fairly for his own actions. There have been, and are, many corrupt politicians, both Democratic and Republican. It's a problem in both parties.
To Raven, who had the classlessness to bring up Gene Renzi. Had you known Gene, you would know how deeply disppointed he was regarding the investigations into his son's dealings. Whatever mistakes Rep. Renzi has made should not reflect on General Renzi. He was the essence of an upstanding and proud citizen, a wonderful person, who deserved the tribute he received only yesterday when he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The fact that his funeral service was attended by at least 600 people was testament to the life he led, and he will be sorely missed.

Posted by: Sad in VA | February 22, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

about time that arrogant Renzi got busted. I do hope they catch up with the cash he has stashed.But pertaining to his high school boys. They are hard working good kids. This is not their fault.

Posted by: wowza | February 22, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

KEATING5... SEX4FVRS... RENZI... more to come

Posted by: longwalksinparis.blogspot.com | February 22, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Straight talk express fails the bullsh*t test once again................

Posted by: longwalksinparis.blogspot.com | February 22, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Like father, like son. Both made careers living off the public funds of the US government while using their official positions for personal gain.Typical wrapped in-the-flag hypocritical Repuke scoundrels stuffing themselves like pigs.
Red meat phony patriot Bush lap dog Junior Renzi should waterboarded in front of his constituents, one of the poorest CDs in the nation.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 22, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I simply cannot believe what I am reading about Rep. Renzi's father. You all should be ashamed of yourselves. Not a single one of you knew him.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 22, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Guess he needed the dough to feed his 12 kids. Profligacy begins at home.

Posted by: aaguy | February 22, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

OVERSIGHT! GOP (Gropers of Penis) WE don't need no stinking oversight!

Posted by: nallcando | February 22, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Renzi's fellow Arizona Republican has been doing much the same kind of thing: schmoozing with and accepting favours (campaign donations, free plane rides, etc.) from corporations he then turned around and did favours for (writing letters to the FCC, proposing legislation, etc.) for. Renzi's mistake was to make the quid pro quo explicit. McCain, on the other hand, knows how to do it with a wink and a nod.

Posted by: Antonio | February 22, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Do the Cons know anything about Birth Control? Clearly, the Born Again Idiots Abstinence Program does not work. LMAO

Posted by: Anonymous | February 22, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who supports the Born Again, Faith Based, Pro Life Lying War Criminal Mass Murderer Serial Killer in Chief and the VP of Torture should never be in the WH. Anyone who supports wasting a couple of trillion dollars of taxpayers funds in Illegal Invasions of Sovereign States should never be our leader. If one had any courage, one would call for the Axis of Evil to be indicted for War Crimes. People who support Mission Accomplished is equally Guilty in the thousands of Murders. The Decider and his Murderous Gang need to face Justice at the International Criminal Court. There is no Statue of Limitations on War Crimes.

Only a Coward would send others to do his dirty work. Why have these Born Again Killers not made any sacrifices with their huge public salaries to finance their Illegal Invasions.

WHAT WOULD JESUS KILL?

The Anti-Science Guns Owned Party of the National Right to Annihilate are all Cowards with Guns. They can only Kill Defenseless Creatures. They have Zero courage without their Guns.

All of these Religious Extremist Psycho Cons are Frauds. Only Deluded Ignorant Idiots would believe any of them and their Delusional Religious Fairy Tales.

Before any Coward Cons claim torturing people is okay, (1) it is illegal and immoral, and (2) have it done to you and your family before be so quick to approve. You have given the green light to the other Religious Extremists to do the same and worse to every American they capture in the future. Why hasn't the Big Oil Decider and the sharpshooting VP of Torture Cowards undergone waterboarding on National TV to demonstrate to the country that this is a fine way to treat people?

INDICT the Born Again, Faith Based, Pro Life Lying War Criminal Mass Murderer Coward Serial Killer in Chief and the VP of Torture and their Gang of Born Again Hypocrite Coward Killers!

http://www.un.org/law/icc/statute/99_corr/cstatute.htm
War Crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court

Posted by: Anonymous | February 22, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

The Nation story details how close Renzi is to John McCain. It appears they are very close associates. For those who want to insist that Democrats are equally corrupt as the Republicans, I say, "Not lately!" It's getting extremely hard to keep track of the Republican crooks, while Republicans can readily come up with the same few Democractic names. It's easier to remember a few crooks than it is to remember - what - hundreds?

Posted by: Gardenia | February 22, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Another Arizona land scam! Surprise, surprise! With all those wealthy retirees and all that undeveloped desert, it's no wonder the unscrupulous operators keep proliferating like Gila Monsters.

The daddy of them all was Charles Keating, author of the scam that caused some twenty years ago the biggest modern bank failure prior to the subprime loan crisis, which is probably going to eclipse it, finally. Guess who went to bat for Keating? John McCain, that's who, who was reprimanded by the Senate for his unethical conduct in the matter.

Lest we forget!

Posted by: tom | February 22, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

"I simply cannot believe what I am reading about Rep. Renzi's father. You all should be ashamed of yourselves. Not a single one of you knew him." Lucky them!! But they can read the public record, nevertheless!

Posted by: tom | February 22, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

"This is not good news from McCain... Wow, Ron Paul may have a chance after all..."

If any Republican, in the days of George W. Bush, deserves a chance, it's Ron Paul. None of the others pass the smell test!

Ron Paul reduces the libertarian argument to its essence, which is why he's getting about 4% of the vote. But at least he's not slimy!

Posted by: tom | February 22, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Corrupt Republicans--you can count them all on one hand.

Democrats-the only reason they go into politics is to get rich.

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