Friday, April 27, 2007

Corruption Friday: Grand Old Party Edition

More criminal activity from the members of the Grand Old Corruption Party. First, Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi:

U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., could soon step down in the wake of a federal investigation into his involvement in a federal land swap deal and FBI raids of an insurance agency owned by his wife. His resignation could come as early as Friday or soon after, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Next, Florida Congressman Tom Feeney:

Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), who's been in the spotlight this week for his role in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, is going forward with his "Feeney Spring Break Bash" fundraiser tonight at the American Legion Hall in Washington, D.C.

Feeney spokeswoman Pepper Pennington tells The Sleuth, "It's going to be the fourth annual year of the event. ... We're all looking forward to having a great time."

The party goes on, despite an admission by Feeney's office this week that federal prosecutors have asked the congressman for more information about that infamous 2003 golf trip to the historic St. Andrews golf course in Scotland, a trip that came courtesy of Abramoff.

At the time, Feeney reported on his congressional expense report that the trip cost $5,000. But court documents released Tuesday cited Abramoff's trip as costing about $20,000 per person. Also on Tuesday, former congressional aide Mark Zachares pleaded guilty to conspiracy, revealing new information about the luxury golf expedition.

Adding fuel to the fire, Feeney's longtime former chief of staff, Jason Roe, inexplicably resigned this week from Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. (Complicating Roe's life further, his wife Patty is chief of staff to Rep. Rick Renzi, who's also in the federal corruption spotlight.)

Wow, talk about coincidences! Feeney's longtime former chief of staff resigns from a presidential campaign just as his former boss is going under the Abramoff investigation spotlight and his wife's boss is about to resign his Congressional seat in disgrace.

You just can't make this stuff up!

Finally, add another U.S. attorney to the Prosecutor Purge:

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration considered firing the former U.S. attorney in Minnesota, but he left his job voluntarily before the list of attorneys to be ousted was completed, two congressional aides said Thursday.

Congressional investigators probing the firings of eight U.S. attorneys saw Thomas Heffelfinger's name on a version of the list that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' former chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, began assembling in early 2005. Heffelfinger left in February 2006, more than nine months before the Justice Department agreed on a final list of prosecutors to remove.


Heffelfinger's case interests congressional investigators because he worked in one of the states that White House political adviser Karl Rove identified as an election battleground, and because he was replaced by a 34-year-old Bush administration loyalist who'd been a member of Gonzales' inner circle.

In April, four top deputies in the U.S Attorney's Office in Minnesota resigned their leadership posts, apparently to protest the leadership of Heffelfinger's replacement, Rachel Paulose.

I took Congressman Doolittle in the "Next GOP shoe to fall" in a corruption scandal, but it looks like I will lose if Rick Renzi goes first.

Oh, well, I don't mind losing that kind of bet.

RBE, good to see someone keeping score. I miss the corruption scene.
Josh Marshall and the TPMmuckrakers are really doing the job keeping track of all this stuff, cartledge.

They really do a great job.
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