Friday, February 22, 2008

McCain Campaign Official Rep. Renzi Indicted

John McCain is having a really bad week. First the Vicki Iseman revelations, and now Rep. Rick Renzi, co-chair of his Arizona campaign, has been indicted on 35 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, insurance fraud and extortion:
PHOENIX — Federal authorities announced corruption charges Friday accusing Rep. Rick Renzi of engineering a swap of federally owned mining land to benefit himself and a former business partner and stealing from his insurance company's clients.

A lengthy federal investigation that had put the three-term Republican congressman under a cloud for more than a year culminated in a 26-page indictment issued Thursday against him and two other men. Renzi announced Aug. 23 that he wouldn't run for re-election in Arizona's mostly rural 1st Congressional District.

The indictment's 35 counts include charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, insurance fraud and extortion. Most of the charges allege Renzi, 49, used his office to promote a land swap to collect on a debt owed by former Renzi associate James W. Sandlin of Sherman, Texas.


Authorities accuse Renzi of using his position as a member of the Natural Resources Committee to push land deals for Sandlin. Renzi wanted Sandlin to make money so the congressman could be paid for an earlier land deal they made together, according to the indictment.

Not surprisingly, Renzi has stepped down from the McCain campaign and House Minority Leader John Boehner is asking him to resign.

What a way to cap off a tough week.