Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rick Renzi Tied To Prosecutor Purge

Josh Marshall has the details:

Purged US Attorney Paul Charlton was talking to House investigators this afternoon when he made an important revelation. Weeks before election day 2006, word leaked to the press in Arizona that Charlton's office was investigating Renzi. Renzi's top aide Brian Murray then called Charlton's office and asked Charlton's spokesman, Wyn Hornbuckle.

Unlike what happened with David Iglesias, Charlton's chief investigator did report the contact to the Department of Justice, as DOJ regs dictate.

Now, here's the key: after all Congress's document and information requests to DOJ, the Justice Department had not revealed the Renzi-Charlton contact. For some reason, they've held that back.

The AP sources that to a House Judiciary Committee official and I've also confirmed with House Judiciary investigators that the DOJ failed to give this information to congressional investigators.

According to Marshall, Renzi's top aide admitted that he called the press secretary to Paul Charlton before the election to get info about the alleged "pending indictment."

Marshall continues:

So basically what we have here is a classic scandal harmonic convergence -- new nuggets about the Renzi scandal and the revelation that another of the US Attorney firings may be tied to an investigation of a Republican lawmaker. At a minimum, the DOJ has concealed critical information about the story.

And one other detail to add to the mix. Remember that two weeks after his dismissal, Charlton emailed his superiors at the Department of Justice asking how to handle questions over whether his firing was tied to his investigation of Rep. Renzi (R-AZ).

Ahh, yes - the classic scandal harmonic convergence.

Also remember that Rick Renzi has now resigned from ALL of his committee assignments after the FBI raided one of his family's businesses last week.

Also, the Politico reports that Renzi has dropped out of the GOP's top program to protect vulnerable incumbents. The article says that:

Renzi's decision, however voluntary, is a clear sign that members have heeded Boehner's call for Republicans to step aside if they are in the crosshairs of a federal investigation following two years of non-stop scandal in the 109th Congress that contributed to the GOP's demise.

Renzi, now serving his third term in the House, has been targeted in each election because he represents only a slightly Republican district. He won with a comfortable margin last fall, but Democrats planned to go after him this year.

Renzi's got problems.

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