Rick Renzi

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Rick Renzi served the 1st Congressional district of Arizona from 2002-2008

Richard George Renzi, a Republican, represented the 1st District of Arizona, in the United States House of Representatives from 2002-2008. (map)

Record and controversies

General information about important bills and votes for can be found in Congresspedia's articles on legislation. You can add information you find on how Rick Renzi voted by clicking the "[edit]" link to the right and typing it in. Remember to cite your sources!

Iraq War

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

Claims of Voting Record Favoring his Family Business

While in office, Renzi has been criticized for consistently introducing and voting in favor of bills benefiting his father's defense company [1]. In 2003, Renzi sponsored legislation (signed into law in November 2003) that dealt hundreds of millions of dollars to his father's business while, according to environmentalists, devastating the San Pedro River. The provision exempted the Army's Fort Huachuca base in Sierra Vista, Arizona from maintaining water levels in the San Pedro River as called for in an agreement made in 2002 with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Renzi claimed he introduced the measure to prevent the closing of the Fort and to promote its enlargement. Neither the fort nor the river is located in Renzi's district.

A key beneficiary of Renzi's legislation was ManTech International Corp., a Fairfax, Virginia based defense contractor where Renzi's father, Retired Major General Eugene Renzi, is an executive vice president. ManTech had $467 million in contracts at Fort Huachuca with options for an additional $1.1 billion between 2004 through 2008. In addition, the company, which has an office in Sierra Vista, Arizona, was the largest contributor to Renzi's 2002 congressional campaign and the second largest in his 2004 campaign.

On October 24, 2006, the New York Times reported that federal authorities in Arizona had opened an inquiry into possible illegal actions taken by the Congressman in relation to the matter. [2]

Financial controversies

FEC Violations and Improper Campaign Contributions

In 2004, the Federal Election Commission concluded an audit of Rep. Renzi's campaign committee, Rick Renzi for Congress, and found that the committee had illegally financed much of the Congressman's 2002 election campaign. The FEC found that $369,090 of the loans were made using impermissible corporate funds. The committee was fined $25,000 for the reporting violation. The FEC made public in early May 2007 that it reached an agreement with Renzi that would avoid a more serious fine by paying $323,830 in additional federal and state taxes.[1]

Failure to disclose $200,000

On April 26, 2007, The Hill reported that Rep. Renzi had failed to disclose $200,000 in income from James Sandlin. The payment is connected with a land swap currently under investigation, and was omitted from the congressmen's financial disclosure files (see above section). [2]

Second mortgage on Flagstaff home

In order to pay for the FEC tax deal (see above), in January 2007 Renzi took out a $500,000 second mortgage on his home in Flagstaff. The second mortgage indicates possible financial troubles prior to making the FEC deal. [3]

Link to ARMPAC and Tom Delay

Renzi also received $30,000 in campaign contributions from former majority leader Tom DeLay's ARMPAC. After DeLay was indicted in 2005, Democrats criticized Renzi for not returning the money or donating it to charity. [3].

Payments to staffer, lobbyist, and fundraiser Patty Roe

In order to dodge federal laws barring senior congressional staffers from pursuing outside careers, Renzi hired former consultant Patty Roe at a salary just below that which would categorize her as a senior staffer. He then paid her an additional $5,000 per month to solicit donations for his campaign fund. Federal law stipulates that no campaigning or campaign fundraising can be done from a congressional office. Many close to the matter believe that it is unlikely that Roe has upheld the proper legal separation between her two jobs. [4]

Due to the various ethical charges that have been raised by Renzi's opponents, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, labeled Renzi one of the most corrupt members of Congress in 2005 and 2006. [5]

Justice Department investigation

2005 land swap

In October 2001, Renzi sold off a half-interest of a real estate investment business to a fellow investor, James Sandlin, before filing to run for Congress for the first time in 2002. Sandlin paid $200,000 cash, and Renzi put his profits towards his congressional campaign. Once he won the 2002 election, Renzi sold his remaining interest in the company to Sandlin, earning somewhere between $1 million and $5 million, according to public disclosure forms. [6]

In 2000, Sandlin bought 480 acres in Cochise County, Arizona. In 2005, Tom Collazo, director of conservation for the Nature Conservancy in Arizona, says that two different groups of investors approached him about whether Sandlin's property would be useful in a land swap. Sandlin's land was on the San Pedro, a source of great concern for environmentalists because of its status of being the last free-flowing river in Arizona. The Nature Conservancy had previously attempted to purchase the property, but in 2005 both investors who approached Collazo said they were doing so at Renzi's suggestion. While Renzi's district does include parts of Cochise County, Sandlin's land falls outside its borders. Confirming his interest, on October 1, 2005, Renzi said that he would introduce legislation in Congress swapping Sandlin's land, thereby protecting the land along the San Pedro, in exchange for land in Florence, Arizona. [7]

On October 7, Sandlin sold the property to Philip Aries, a real estate investor, and his partners for $4.5 million. The group purchased the land in preparation for a swap for the Florence land, where they had plans for development. Soon after, however, the federal government discovered that Florence was full of pygmy owls, an endangered species, and the land therefore could not be developed. Aries and his partners then attempted to place the land they purchased back on the market, as a swap for the Florence land would no longer be a possibility. [8]

Renzi's chief of staff, Brian Murray, acknowledged that “it wouldn't be proper for him to be involved in legislation involving Sandlin” because of their past business dealings. Murray told the Phoeniz New Times that Renzi explained to him that Sandlin was part of a group of investors, and that the congressman was unaware that his former partner had interest in the land. Renzi, however, later called New Times and said that he knew Sandlin had ownership of the property, but that his only interest in advocating a swap was helping the San Pedro, especially because the fate of Fort Huachuca rested on having enough water. [9]

On October 24, a law enforcement official in Washington D.C. anonymously reported that Renzi was under investigation by the U.S. attorney's office in Arizona for his involvement in a land deal. While the report did not specify this land deal as the one being probed, the Associated Press indicated it was likely. The official noted that the investigation had been under way for several months, and was still in its early stages. [10]

Sponsors legislation benefiting campaign contributor and employer of father

Within twenty-four hours of the Associated Press report involving the investigation of Renzi and the land swap, it was also reported that federal authorities in Arizona had opened an inquiry into whether Renzi introduced legislation that benefited a military contractor who donated heavily to his campaigns and employs his father. [11]

In 2003, Renzi sponsored legislation (which was signed into law in November of that year) exempting the Fort Huachuca Army base in Arizona from maintaining water levels in the nearby San Pedro River. Environmentalists criticized the measure, arguing that it threatened water levels in one of the few remaining un-dammed rivers in the West. [12]

The legislation benefited firms which operated at the base. One of these firms, ManTech International, a communications company which at the time of the probe had over $450 million in military contracts at the base, was the largest contributor to Renzi’s congressional campaign in 2002 and the second-largest in 2004. In addition, the firm employs Renzi’s father, Eugene, a retired Army general, as its executive vice-president. [13]

As of late October 2006, the inquiry was at an early stage and no search warrants had been issued. [14]

FBI raids family business

On April 19, 2007, the FBI raided Renzi's wife's Arizona insurance business. This prompted Renzi to temporarily resign from the House Intelligence Committee. [4] That same day House Ethics Committee aides pulled Renzi's financial disclosure records, signaling a possible probe. [5]

On April 24, 2007, Renzi announced that he would be stepping down from the House Resources and Financial Services Committees. Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) stated, "I appreciate the decision Rick has made and know it was a difficult one...I look forward to seeing this matter resolved swiftly." [6]

Connection to U.S. attorney firings controversy

In late 2006, the Justice Department fired nine U.S. attorneys. A controversy ensued as Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and other members of the department provided inconsistent statements regarding the reasons for the unusual mid-term firings. In addition, it became apparent from department communications that the firings were politically motivated.[7]

Main article: Bush administration U.S. attorney firings controversy

In April 2007, Brian Murray, Renzi's top congressional aide, issued a statement acknowledging that shortly after the local media reported the Justice Department investigation in late 2006, he called Wyn Hornbuckle, a spokesperson for Paul Charlton, then a U.S. attorney from Arizona and one of nine who would ultimately be fired. He stated, "I called Mr. Hornbuckle seeking information about press accounts which appeared just weeks before Election Day alleging a pending indictment...I left him a message asking for information about these allegations, but I was called back and told they would not comment."[8] The Justice Department investigation into Renzi, which was announced in October 2006, a week before the 2006 congressional elections, was conducted by Charlton. The investigation was ongoing at the time of Charlton's firing.

Murray disclosed the call a few hours after Charlton related the call to House investigators probing whether the U.S. attorney firings were politically motivated. The Justice Department denied that Charlton's, or any of the attorneys, firing was political.[9]

Retirement

On April 26 2007, the Business Journal of Phoenix reported that Rep. Renzi was being encouraged by Republican leadership to resign from his office. Republican leadership is worried that prolonged investigations into Renzi's activities, will damage their ability to maintain the seat.[10]

On April 27 2007, Rep. Renzi stated that he would not resign and that he is "looking forward to continuing to serve the people of the 1st district for the next two years."[11]

On August 24, 2007, Rep. Renzi's office announced that he would not seek reelection in 2008, and would retire following the 110th Congress. He stated, “I will not be seeking re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008. I am honored and thankful to serve Arizona’s first district and appreciate all that we have accomplished together over the past 6 years.” In the face of a federal investigation into Renzi's business dealings, numerous Democrats already had entered the 2008 race, with some Republicans also eying to fight for the seat in the primary. Renzi's retirement would mean a Republican candidate untainted by political scandal could vie for the spot.[12]

Indictment

According to a February 2008 AP report, Renzi has been indicted on extortion, money laundering, wire fraud and other charges connected to land deals in his state.[13] Renzi, who announced last year he would not seek reelection, has been under investigation for using his position on the House Natural Resources Committee to profit from a 2005 land swap deal. On February 26, 2008, Renzi's congressional office released a statement where Renzi announced his intent to stay in office despite the indictments: "I will not resign and take on the cloak of guilt because I am innocent."[14]

In October 2008, citing the "speech and debate clause," his attorneys filed a motion to throw out the case, while prosecutors filed an opposing motion; however, the judge has not yet decided.[15]Renzi faced more indictment counts on November 13, 2008, charged with racketeering, falsifying a tax return, and embezzlement. He is named in 43 out of 44 charges.[16]

Ethics investigation

A week after federal prosecutors indicted Renzi on 35 counts of extortion, money laundering and conspiracy, the House Ethics Committee voted to empanel an investigative subcommittee to review whether the congressman violated the chamber’s code of conduct. The ethics committee investigation will be chaired by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.). However, the ethics committee's recent history leaves questions as to its efficacy. It authorized a probe of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) in 2006 but has yet to issue public word on the progress of that effort.[17]

On February 27, due to a lack of support among lawmakers, the House set aside indefinitely a new effort to create a more rigorous, independent ethics body to enforce rules of conduct for House members.[17]


Bio

Renzi was born on June 11, 1959 and grew up in Sierra Vista, Arizona, where his father, retired U.S. Army Major General Eugene Renzi (a two-star general), served at Ft. Huachuca. Renzi graduated from Buena High School and was educated at Northern Arizona University with a B.S. in criminal justice in 1980, and the Catholic University with a J.D. in 2002. Before entering politics he was an insurance businessman and a U.S. Department of Defense employee in the Washington, D.C. area.

Renzi's father is the executive vice president of Mantech International, a company providing information technology services to a number of intelligence and defense-related federal government agencies; over 1/3 of Mantech International's employees have top secret government security clearances. [15]

Rick and Roberta Renzi are the parents of 12 children.

When a new congressional district was created in Arizona, Renzi bought a house in Flagstaff, Arizona so he could claim Arizona residency and run for the seat. At this time, Renzi had lived in Virginia for over 20 years since graduating from Northern Arizona University. In 2003 after Renzi was elected to Congress, the bank foreclosed on the home after Renzi missed a series of mortgage payments. During the entire period, Renzi's actual residence continued in a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. [16]

Renzi faced a hotly contested Republican primary election which included several other candidates. He was denounced as a carpetbagger by some activists within his own party, but nonetheless won the nomination. The 2002 Democratic primary, also hotly contested, was narrowly won by George Cordova, a party outsider and also accused carpetbagger who won over several better-known candidates supported by the Democratic National Committee.

Renzi spent $436,590 of his own money on the election, in addition to large donations from Mantech International executives, who were the largest single source of outside money for the campaign. [17]

The Renzi campaign was criticized for the heavy use of negative advertising attacking Cordova, which the cash-strapped Cordova campaign was unable to match. The Renzi campaign also made heavy use of automated telephone calls throughout the district with various claims and innuendos about Cordova. [18] Renzi claimed most of the negative advertising had been placed by the Republican National Committee without his permission. [19]

On election day, Rick Renzi defeated George Cordova by a 49%-46% margin, a difference of about 6,000 votes.

2004 elections

In preparation for the 2004 campaign, the Democratic Party in Arizona tapped Paul Babbitt, Coconino County commissioner and the brother of Bruce Babbitt to run for the seat, and pressured all other candidates with the exception of political unknown Bob Donahue out of the primary in order to clear the way for Babbitt to run against Renzi without a costly primary contest. Paul Babbitt's campaign was named a top national priority by most major Democratic fundraisers and liberal weblogs, because a plurality of Arizona 1st Congressional District voters are registered Democrats and because Renzi was able to defeat George Cordova by only about 6000 votes in 2002. Unlike the Cordova campaign of two years prior, which received only token support from the national Democratic Party organizations, the Babbitt campaign received major support; nonetheless, the Babbitt campaign was unable to match Renzi's fundraising. [20]

The Renzi campaign once again flooded the district with negative advertising attacking Babbitt. On election day, Renzi was reelected by a 59%-36% margin. Pundits noted a number of reasons why Babbitt performed so poorly in a plurality Democratic district. Among them were the unpopularity of the Babbitt name in some parts of the district, resentment over pressure tactics used by the state Democratic Party to pressure other candidates out of the primary, and Renzi's record of securing congressional appropriations for the district especially on the Navajo Nation. However, the most common complaint was simply that Babbitt ran a poor campaign and was unwilling to commit to a firm position on much of anything.

2006 elections

In 2006, the Democrats nominated Ellen Simon to face Renzi in his November 2006 bid for reelection. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [21] Renzi won the closely watched race.

2008 elections

On August 23rd, 2007, Renzi announced that he would not be running for reelection in 2008. [22]

Ann Kirkpatrick will replace Renzi as Congresswoman of the 1st District in January.

Positions and Views

In 2004, Renzi was one of a handful of members in the House to vote in favor of an amendment to pull the United States out of the United Nations.

Renzi is an opponent of stem cell research and in May of 2005, he got into an argument on the House floor with Congressman Mark Kirk (R-IL) which was initially reported as Renzi choking Kirk until the argument was broken up by Congressman J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ), although the offices of all three Congressmen deny this. The argument ensued after Renzi had learned that Kirk and the moderate Republican Main Street Partnership commissioned secret polling in the districts of Renzi and other members of Congress who oppose stem cell research. Renzi claims that he was only yelling at Kirk: "I was yelling at him. I told him it's absolutely unprecedented that Republicans would pay for a push poll to attack another Republican on such a core belief of mine...You're not going to change my view on the issue, as a father of 12." [23]

Renzi is generally a supporter of expanded legal immigration into the United States, and supports expansion of guest worker programs and the H1B visa.

During debates with his Democratic and Libertarian opponents for the U.S. House in 2004, Renzi attacked the environmental movement, naming in particular those who oppose logging as a forest thinning measure and those who support the removal of Glen Canyon Dam.

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00024931&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for Rick Renzi
from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org site.
Fundraising profile: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2006 election cycle Career totals


Committees and Affiliations

Committee assignments in the 110th Congress (2007-2008)

Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

Coalitions and Caucuses

Boards and other Affiliations

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Rick Renzi. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.

Contact

DC Office:
418 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-0301
Phone: 202-225-2315
Fax: 202-226-9739
Email: rick.renzi AT mail.house.gov
Web Email
Website

District Office - Casa Grande:
117 East Second Street
Post Office Box 11186
Casa Grande, AZ 85230
Phone: 520-876-0929
Fax: 520-976-9374

District Office - Flagstaff:
2501 North Fourth Street, Suite 23
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
Phone: 928-213-3434
Fax: 928-213-5447

District Office - Prescott:
107 North Cortez, Suite 208
Prescott, AZ 86301
Phone: 928-708-9120
Fax: 928-708-9121

District Office - Safford:
1420 First Avenue, Suite 100
Safford, AZ 85546
Phone: 928-587-3417 (cell)
Fax: 928-428-5005

District Office - San Carlos:
EPA Building
10 West Tonto
Post Office Box 0
San Carlos, AZ 85550
Phone: 928-475-3733

District Office - White Mountain:
1151 East Deuce of Clubs
Suite A
Show Low, AZ 85901
Phone: 928-537-2800
TollFree: 866-537-2800
Fax: 928-532-5088

District Office - Whiteriver:
Apache Veteran's Center
201 East Walnut
Whiteriver, AZ 85941
Phone: 928-521-2810 (cell)
Fax: 928-532-5088

District Office - Window Rock:
DNA Legal Services Building
Highway 264 & Route 12
Post Office Box 4673
Window Rock, AZ 86515
Phone: 928-853-3750 (cell)
Fax: 928-871-4879

Articles and resources

Sources

  1. Klaus Marre, "Renzi pays $323,830 in taxes, avoids stiffer FEC fine," The Hill, May 1, 2007.
  2. Alexander Bolton, "Renzi didn’t reveal $200K," The Hill,April 26, 2007.
  3. Alexander Bolton, "Renzi faced cash squeeze," The Hill, May 2, 2007.
  4. Klaus Marre, "Renzi resigns from Intelligence Committee," The Hill, April 20, 2007.
  5. Susan Davis, "Ethics Examines Renzi's Finances," Roll Call, May 1, 2007.
  6. Jackie Kucinich and Jonathan E. Kaplan, "Amid FBI investigation, Renzi steps down from 2 more panel," The Hill, April 25, 2007.
  7. "Renzi leaves all panels after FBI raid," MSNBC, April 25, 2007.
  8. "Renzi leaves all panels after FBI raid," MSNBC, April 25, 2007.
  9. "Renzi leaves all panels after FBI raid," MSNBC, April 25, 2007.
  10. Mike Sunnucks, "Renzi could soon resign U.S. House seat," The Business Journal of Phoenix , April 26, 2007.
  11. David M. Drucker, "Renzi Denies Resignation Rumors," Roll Call, April 27, 2007.
  12. Josh Kraushaar, "Scandal-plagued Renzi announces retirement," The Politico, August 23, 2007.
  13. Dennis Wagner, "Renzi Indicted in Theft, Extortion," The Arizona Republic, February 23, 2008.
  14. Viqueira and Montanaro, "Renzi: 'I will not resign,'" MSNBC, February 26, 2008.
  15. Ben Conery, [http://washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov/14/arizonas-renzi -indicted-on-graft-charges/ "Arizona's Renzi indicted on graft charges,"] The Washington Times, November 14, 2008.
  16. [[http://www.azcentral.com/news/election/azelections/articles/2008/11/13/ 20081113renzicharges.html "Charges added to indictment of Congressman Renzi,"] azcentral.com, November 13, 2008.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Justin Rood and Dean Norland, "House Ethics Panel Announces Renzi Probe," ABC News, February 28, 2008.

Resources

Articles

Local blogs and discussion sites

Corresponding article on Wikipedia and Cause Caller. (If Cause Caller link does not work, pick from its list of senators and representatives.)

Current Office: None
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Committees,
Ranking Member On:

Caucuses:
Committees:
110th Congress
Leadership Position:
None
Committees Chaired:
Committees,
Ranking Member On:

Caucuses:
Committees: House Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public lands, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 5, 2002
First Took Current Office:
January 3, 2003
Next Election:
none
Term Ends:
January 3, 2009
Freshman Member?
No
Previous Political Work?
None or not available
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1.
Phone: / Fax:





Campaign Contact:

Website:
Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

1.
Phone: / Fax:



Zip Code Affiliations:
Misc:

Date of Birth: June 11, 1958