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Ethics Panel Suspends Renzi Probe

As expected, the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct has decided to hold off on its investigation of indicted Rep. Rick Renzi (R) out of deference to the Justice Department's own probe of the Arizonan.

Renzi was indicted in February on 35 counts of money laundering, extortion and other offenses related to a federal land-swap scheme and his alleged embezzlement of money from his own company to fund his first House campaign. The ethics panel announced a week later that it was forming an investigative subcommittee to probe Renzi's actions.

But the committee is traditionally hesitant to interfere with federal investigations, and the investigative subcommittee "has voted to refrain at this time from attempting to interview or depose witnesses linked to the criminal proceedings" against Renzi after receiving "a communication" from Justice asking it to do so. The subcommittee will remain in existence and could start the probe up again in the future, but Renzi is not running for reelection and will be out of the ethics panel's jurisdiction by the end of the year.

By Ben Pershing  |  May 22, 2008; 5:20 PM ET
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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