Entry for April 30, 2007

Illustration of Rick Renzi (R-AZ) from accompanied the front page April 21, Wall Street Journal story, “Land-Swap Plan Causes Trouble For Congressman: Mr. Renzi Offers Field To Mining Companies; Grand Jury Is Active” by John R. Wilke.

April 24. AP writer Jennifer Talhelm divulged,

Brian Murray, Renzi’s top aide, issued a statement late Tuesday acknowledging that shortly after the local media reported that the congressmen was being investigated, he called Charlton spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle.

“I called Mr. Hornbuckle seeking information about press accounts which appeared just weeks before Election Day alleging a pending indictment,” Murray said in a statement. “I left him a message asking for information about these allegations, but I was called back and told they would not comment.”

Hornbuckle refused to comment Tuesday.

Murray’s disclosure came a few hours after Charlton related the call to House investigators probing whether the firings amounted to a political purge by the Bush administration. An official with the House Judiciary Committee said Charlton did not provide details of the call but said his chief investigator reported the call to the Justice Department.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation, said the committee has not received a report from Justice of that call.

Is Renzi about to crash and burn a la Duke Cunningham, et. al? He says not, according to April 27th’s story in the Phoenix Business Journal, “Renzi Responds to Resignation Rumors,” Tricky Rick remonstrates (to continue the tacky consonance):

For several weeks, I have been the subject of leaked stories, conjecture, and false attacks about a land exchange. None of them bear any resemblance to the truth, including the rumor that I am planning on resigning.

The journal seemed to take things out of context in the very next paragraph, writing, “Both political parties are talking to and recruiting potential candidates to run in a special election if Renzi leaves office. The Hill newspaper in Washington D.C. earlier this week reported that Renzi said he was pondering resignation.”

So did this Tucson Citizen. I read April 25’s The Hill article, “Amid FBI investigation, Renzi steps down from 2 more panels,” to mean he was considering resigning from the Committee. Jackie Kucinich, one of the authors confirmed my take.

Hi Beth –
We reported he was looking at resigning from the committees (we spoke to him a few hours before he actually stepped down).
Hope this helps!
Best,
Jackie

Interesting to me was the observation noting that Boehner had written in a “dear Colleague Letter” that the

clear likelihood of serious transgressions will lead to suspension from important committees

and concluded

The decision to crack down on wrongdoing is a far cry from a more confident House Republican Conference last year.

His resignation could come as early as Friday or soon after, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Top Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, have been meeting to discuss what they will do if Renzi resigns and his rural congressional seat opens up.

Republican leaders also are starting to encourage Renzi to resign, saying a prolonged investigation will hurt the party’s chances of holding onto his Arizona seat, according to knowledgeable sources.

*

Last week on C-Span I listened to a rebroadcast of the March 6 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, ���Part II���Preserving Prosecutorial Independence: Is the Department of Justice Politicizing the Hiring and Firing of U.S. Attorneys?��� (webcast) into the attorney General firings. Former U.S. attorney for New Mexico, David Iglesias said he felt pressured to speed up an indictment of Democrats during phone calls last October from Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson (both R-NM). Former U.S. Attorney John McKay of Seattle said he was called by the chief of staff to Rep. Doc Hastings, (R-WA), about a preliminary inquiry into voter fraud in Washington state.

April 26, 2007 , according to “Renzi Aide Called U.S. Attorney to Ask About Probe: Chief of Staff Inquired About Land Deal Investigation; Prosecutor Among Eight Who Were Fired” by Amy Goldstein and Dan Eggen, published by the Washington Post, on page A04, According to internal Justice documents, Charlton’s name first appeared on a list of U.S. attorneys to be fired in a Sept. 13 memo, many months after most of the other chief prosecutors who ultimately would be dismissed on December 7.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., released the letter he wrote Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, referring to disclosures in both the WSJ story and one by AP.

Renzi is a co-chairman of Sen. John McCain’s Arizona presidential campaign. When asked if the Renzi would continue to play a part in his campaign, McCain said:

Look, Rick obviously has got great difficulties now. I know nothing about his case. He’s in my prayers. He’s in my prayers. And that’s all I’m going to say. All this stuff will come out.

Page View Statistics (visitor count no longer available from yahoo.)

April 2007: 14,252
2007 YTD: 45,976
2006 TOTAL: 61,308
Total since 1/1/06: 107,284

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