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death and life of education

Former Republican Congressman Rick Renzi Is Finally Headed To Prison On Corruption Charges

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You may have noticed that DWT spends a lot of time going after a few especially bad Members of Congress. If you're a regular reader, you see a lot of mentions of shady characters like Darrell Issa, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Buck McKeon, Michele Bachmann, John Barrow, Steve Israel, Louie Gohmert, Steve King, John Boehner, Miss McConnell, Joe Crowley... the worst of the worst from both sides of the aisle. When the blog got started in 2005, our focus was on people we rarely mention these days: Duke Cunningham, Tom DeLay, Mark Foley, John Doolittle, Dick Pombo and Rick Renzi. Cunningham went to prison on corruption charges; DeLay is out on bail while he appeals his convictions; Pombo was kicked out of office by his constituents; Foley resigned in disgrace and is trying to rehabilitate himself; Doolittle resigned in a trade-off with the Feds to stay out of prison (which is I think what Bachmann is up to now). And now-- finally-- Renzi is getting his due.

In 2008, after years of pussyfooting around (including being forced to resign from his committee in disgrace), Renzi was indicted on 35 criminal counts. And Tuesday... well, it depends which version you tune in on. Renzi's version is that the federal jury acquitted him on 15 charges. And that's true. But the jury also found him guilty on 17 counts including wire fraud, conspiracy, extortion, racketeering, money laundering and making false statements to insurance regulators. He turned 55 on Tuesday. He'll be sentenced on August 19.
Prosecutors said wire fraud, extortion, money laundering and racketeering each carry maximum penalties of 20 years in prison while conspiracy carries up to a five-year prison term. Making false statements to insurance regulators carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Renzi, who turned 55 on Tuesday, left the courthouse without commenting.

“We are pleased that the jury acquitted Mr. Renzi on 15 counts,” his defense attorney, Chris Niewoehner, said in a statement. “We are disappointed by every guilty verdict. We will continue to fight these charges, including on appeal.”

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman said Renzi must now face the consequences of his actions.

“Former Congressman Renzi’s streak of criminal activity was a betrayal of the public trust and abuse of the political process,” Raman said in a statement. “After years of misconduct as a businessman, political candidate and member of Congress, Mr. Renzi now faces the consequences for breaking the laws that he took an oath to support and defend.”

The indictment charged that Renzi, while in office in 2005, held hostage possible parcel swaps involving public land proposed as the site for an Arizona copper mine unless it included purchasing private land owned by a former Renzi business associate, James Sandlin.

According to the indictment, an investment group agreed to pay $4.6 million for the associate’s land, and he then paid Renzi $733,000 for his help.
Renzi had been named Congress' most corrupt Member by CREW 4 times. Between 1989 and 2012 he raised $5,947,867 from campaign donors, primarily from the Real Estate, Insurance and Gambling industries. One of the counts he was found guilty of was looting a family insurance business to help pay for his 2002 campaign. Over all, he was convicted for using his office for personal gain, something that almost all Republicans and too many Democrats are also guilty of.

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Original author: DownWithTyranny


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