Friday, February 22, 2008

Rick Renzi indicted

Well, it took some time.

In spite of all that Alberto Gonzalez and George W. Bush did to help their friend Rick Renzi, including pushing aside one of the most effective U.S. attorneys they had this morning came the announcement that Congressman Renzi has been indicted.

Renzi created a complex tangle of numbers to try and hide a land deal that helped James Sandlin, one of his friends, violate campaign finance laws by overpaying Renzi for a piece of land so he could quickly raise the money in 2002 to get elected to Congress, where he paid Sandlin back by misusing his position to, among other things, write legislation that helped increase the value of another piece of land that Sandlin owned. Renzi, even before the Sandlin land deal was known, was already considered one of the most corrupt congressmen in Washington for such other ethical lapses as using his official position to help steer up to a billion dollars in Federal contracts to his father's business. As it later turned out even that was part of the web he was weaving to try and cover up the original land deal.

Renzi's scheme to cover up the land deal actually resulted in two separate probes into two pieces of his scheme, and as I predicted eventually merged into one giant investigation.

Unfortunately not enough was known about the deal to prevent Renzi from getting re-elected last time when he ran for Congress. He ran his usual smear campaign against Ellen Simon by using lies, innuendos and distortions just as he has always done in his electoral campaigns. But last year it all broke open when the FBI raided Renzi's wife's business (where he had apparently hidden some of the evidence), ironically at the very same time as Alberto Gonzalez was on Capitol Hill answering questions about the firing of U.S. attorneys, in which Renzi's name figured prominently in connection with the firing of Paul Charltonn who had been investigating him. Last year Renzi finally was forced to announce that he would not seek re-election though he still is trying to remain in Congress (maybe he can have lunch with Larry Craig, because no one even in their own party is talking to either of them.)

Rick Renzi apparently thought that he was smarter than other people. He thought he was smart enough to create such a murky cloud of obfuscation around his financial misdeeds that no one would be able to figure out what he had done. He thought he could get away with it.

But criminals always think that way. But eventually justice does catch up to them. Just ask Renzi's former colleagues, Duke Cunningham and Bob Ney.


shrimplate said...

Take away everything he has and let him grind out his days living in a single-wide outside Winchester, Virginia, stocking the shelves of a local big-box for 25 cents over minimum.

Eli Blake said...


You mean, of course, after he gets out of the clink and all those fun days of picking up litter on the side of the road?

He might even find one of those glossy 'informational letters' sent from his Congressional office at taxpayer expense, which were indistinguishable from campaign literature.

Eli Blake said...

Just a prediction:

Renzi resigns on May 5, the day after the day when they'd have to still call a special election. Republicans don't want one.