Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Renzi Breaks Silence: Bush Administration Tried To Rig My Election And ‘Needs To Be Investigated’

Late last month, the FBI raided the home of Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ) as part of its “two-track investigation” into the congressman “regarding a land deal, as well as a piece of legislation he helped steer that may have improperly benefited a major campaign contributor.” The House Ethics Committee has signaled that it too may now investigate Renzi.

Renzi’s case was opened by former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton, who was fired as part of the Bush administration’s purge. In Oct. 2006, word leaked to the media about the investigation. Renzi’s top aide, Brian Murray, then called Charlton’s spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle to inquire about the investigation. Such calls are highly improper and potentially illegal.

Yesterday in an interview with Phoenix’s KPNX, Renzi spoke for the first time since the FBI raid and said that he believes he is being smeared by the Justice Department. He refused to take any responsibility for the land deal, instead charging — without any evidence — that the leaks on the investigation were “lies.” He added that “to make that up and put that out means the Department of Justice was engaged in electioneering and that needs to be investigated.”

Renzi also defended Murray’s phone call to Charlton’s office, even though calls from lawmakers and their staffs to U.S. attorneys about ongoing investigations are potentially illegal. “All he’s doing is calling the public relations department and saying what is this? What’s going on here? He left a message on a telephone machine,” he stated. Two other ousted U.S. attorneys — John McKay and David Iglesias — also received phone calls from federal lawmakers pressuring them on investigations.

He added that for “anyone to conjure up that this somehow affected Mr. Charlton being fired, is just political theater.”

Transcript: expand post »

Posted by Amanda at 5:14 pm

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