Arizona Congressman Indicted
U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.), who won reelection two years ago despite allegations of corruption, was indicted today for extortion, wire fraud, money laundering and other charges related to a land deal in Arizona.
The federal investigation of Renzi figured in the uproar over the Justice Department's firing of U.S. attorneys allegedly for political reasons. The Post reported last April that Renzi's top aide had called the office of Arizona's U.S. attorney about six weeks before the prosecutor was fired, inquiring about the probe into the congressman's role in the land deal. The U.S. attorney at the time, Paul K. Charlton, alerted Justice officials about the call. Charlton was the third of nine U.S. attorneys forced to resign in 2006 who said that Republican members of Congress or their staffs made inappropriate overtures to their offices about politically sensitive investigations they were supervising.
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales resigned last August in the wake of the scandal. His political undoing stemmed from his tangled account of having approved the dismissals of the U.S. attorneys while denying detailed knowledge of the circumstances or reasons. You can see the chain of events in this Post special report on the Justice Department controversy.
And for a good rundown on the mechanics of the Renzi land deal that is at the heart of today's indictment, check out this article from last spring by the Wall Street Journal.
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