Rick Renzi Indicted

From the AP

A 26-page federal indictment unsealed in Arizona accuses Renzi and two former business partners of conspiring to promote the sale of land that buyers could swap for property owned by the federal government. The sale netted one of Renzi’s former partners $4.5 million.

Here’s a post describing the deal from last year.

A big time mining venture, Resolution Copper Company, wants a parcel of land an hour east of Phoenix so it can mine the vein of copper that lies beneath it. Renzi offered to help them gain Congressional approval for a land swap that would give them that parcel of land, in exchange for some other pieces of land that would be preserved or used to decrease water consumption in the area. Only, Renzi wanted to throw in a little goodie for himself–he asked Resolution to buy an alfalfa field he owned to include it in the swap. The field was later purchased by another group (with ties to Bruce Babbitt) for $4 million dollars, just two years after it was purchased for $1 million.

Not a surprise, really. I’m just hoping the indictment finally reveals more about why Paul Charlton was fired to stave off precisely this indictment. From last year’s post:

And, lurking behind the scam, is the firing of Paul Charlton as US Attorney. In the Senate hearing the other day, Alberto Gonzales offered no good answer for why Charlton was fired. He claimed only that Charlton resisted Gonzales’ judgement on a death penalty case and that he used poor judgment in his efforts to implement taped confessions for investigations in his district. News of the Renzi investigation first got leaked in October, just before the election. And this scam involves a significant Native American interest (one of the commonalities among several of the fired USAs)–the San Carlos Apache Tribe opposes the mining project because it endangers some of their cultural heritage areas.

58 replies
  1. PJEvans says:

    It should be really interesting to listen to the GOoPer excuses for why he should be found not guilty.

    How close to St John the Lobbied is he?

  2. bmaz says:

    Ah, it is finally out. I have been wondering what was taking so long. Now that this formality has been released to the public, maybe the hard questions in earnest can start on what his father’s company, ManTech, the datamining and surveillance/snooping specialists, are doing in their giant operation on their land (that Rick assisted with of course) down in Fort Huachuka and why do the operations down there at the military intel facility use so damn much water?

    • Minnesotachuck says:

      Re ” . . down in Fort Huachuka and why do the operations down there at the military intel facility use so damn much water?”

      Simple! For cooling those acres of servers data-mining our emails, web surfing and phone calls. Just WAGing, of course.

      • garyg says:

        Bingo on the server farms. They could at least have the decency to go mainframe and save the water and energy waste

        Every few months I get a completely unexpected treat when I open Atrios’ blog and see an “Oh My”. These are the mornings that make it worthwhile.

        EW, keep tugging the threads!

    • WilliamOckham says:

      ManTech? What a name. I’m glad my email address doesn’t have that in the domain name. Would never get through the spam filters.

  3. whitewidow says:

    This is more germane to the Gillespie stuff from last thread, but I was wondering what happens now with Toobin. I read that he was acquitted, but that the case is still being sent back to lower court.

    On Topic, I’m hoping that the Renzi stuff is connected to McCain somehow. There sure are an awful lot of unraveling threads that the Bushies have to keep a lid on these days. Everywhere you look, another fire to put out.

    • bmaz says:

      It is my belief that Tobin was intentionally charged with the arguably wrong crime in order to create this result. There were more applicable and traditional provisions he could have been charged under, and the Feds did not have to occupy the case as opposed to state authorities. There is a potential ability to appeal this decision for the government, but it stands absolutely no chance of success whatsoever; not to mention that the BUSH DOJ wanted him acquitted in the first place.

      • Peterr says:

        I’m not a lawyer, but intentionally charging someone with the wrong crime sounds criminal to me, as well as stupid. Leaving aside going after the BushCo cronies, is there anything to stop the 2009 DOJ from reopening the case on Tobin and getting it right this time? It’s not double jeopardy, in that he’s not being tried a second time for the same crime — just a new one, and this time the right one.

        • bmaz says:

          Jeez, had to go and ask all the hard questions eh? It was many months ago that I came up with this thought, but there were certainly many others that did as well (heh I probably read it somewhere first myself). At any rate, basically, I don’t see a problem with having charged him with this crime, the problem was that it was only this crime as opposed to tacking this on as a novel/secondary theory to a traditional fraud type of structure. It is really kind of mind boggling. But the prosecutorial discretion on what crimes to charge, and indeed whether to charge any at all, is extremely broad; that argument is going nowhere as to potential for any real sanction. As to the double jeopardy question, that is a little tougher. Technically, you are right about the different crime bit; however, if the exact same elements necessary for guilt on the new crime are contained in those of the one to which jeopardy has already attached (and in this case I think they would be, that is what makes this so insidious) then the new charge is likely barred.

          Former Fed @8 – Paul is no relation whatsoever to any Gen. PK Charlton; but you are quite right, as I mused @5 above, to question the role in all this of Gene Renzi, the DOD and the giant ManTech operation down at the Fort. By the way, just so you know, it is a pretty safe bet that, during a couple of different periods, Rick Renzi either worked directly for or free lanced for the CIA. Just in case there was any interest in such a thought…..

          • Peterr says:

            Jeez, had to go and ask all the hard questions eh? . . .

            That’s why you lawyer types get the big bucks, right — ’cause you’ve got the good answers?

            • WilliamOckham says:

              I thought lawyers got the big bucks because they always know the answers to the questions they ask…

  4. FormerFed says:

    An aside on DoD connection. Renzi’s father is a retired Army general – 4 stars I believe – and Charlton must be related to 4 star General P.K Charlton who was I believe Commander of Military Airlift Command back in the early 70’s.

    And of course the Navy connection with McCain. Small world.

  5. whitewidow says:

    Wow, he was stealing his insurance clients premiums to run his campaign, too. He’s also one of 24! co-chairs of St. John’s Arizona Leadership Team, chaired by John Kyl.

    bmaz, looking at the cast of Arizona Republicans, I feel for you, man.

  6. JohnLopresti says:

    bmaz, Robin Silver’s site had a simple explanation about the aquifer overdraft, with which I agree from some passing familiarity with the locale and denizens there, though much has changed since the dotcom expansion. The skinny is the specialization of the fort being intelligence for the army, and modern times witnessing an expansion of technological innovation, it was a natural proces that the fort would grow much like silicon valley sprawl; and it was difficult to behold the fragile upland desert valleys newly supporting suburban tract housing. On the mantech issue I defer, as the mercenary and IT side of those ventures are something I know little about. But the water scarcity has been a contentious issue for decades there, even though if one drives thru the old part of the fort there is a marvelous upwelling underground river at the base of the El Dorado mountains against which the fort is nestled. I visited the offices of KBR and many other contractors in the numerous industrial park like cul de sacs and thorofares both within the fort grounds and in the towns outside the gates. What has to happen to avert the inevitable depletion of the water supply is for the army to disperse its workforce instead of supporting more sprawl outside of the fort proper; there is a friction between capitalism’s innate centripetal tendency to expand and oversight so development is carefully planned and sustainable, a frontier the federal government needs to address in other overpopulated areas in the country besides AZ. Since the nearby river has national protections, that might be a good way to address the army intell hub impact from population growth. I doubt AZ will do as CA did, installing pumps to transmit water hundreds of miles to support Los Angeles; but, who knows how the politics of water contracts will develop in southeast AZ

    • bmaz says:

      John, I know Robin; already talked to him this morning. We have discussed this before, and much of what you have probably seen at the Center for Biological Diversity site has been accelerated and multiplied by the more recent things I inquire about, or so I am theorizing.

      WO and Peterr – Heh, well I have lame answers and few dollars…..

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Ah. I’m no longer even shocked by such linkages, but things now make more sense.

      Lotta fortunes made out West by land swaps.
      Indeed, it has been the foundation of more than one dynasty.

      And I’d like add a ‘ditto’ to [email protected] I have the same question.
      Why now?
      Is it to divert from the Siegelman story now coming on CBS 60 Minutes?
      How is it related to Abramoff, tribal politics?
      Still many missing gaps in my grasp of the timelines and players.

      • BlueStateRedHead says:

        thanks for the ditto. Mine was a tall order, so it is good to know that two people are ordering the same dish. When the DOJ starts dishing out, something is rotten in the state of Denmark the state of justice and among the forces of unrule.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Well, partly b/c I was mystified, I clicked on several other links and it turns out this Renzi thing looks sleazier than a backed-up sewer treatment plant. The filth appears to be…. enough to gag a few hundred thousand people caught downwind.

          He appears to have 12 kids, a background as a CIA spook, and as for the rest, I’ve got a slug of bookmarks to read later in the day when I’m on the treadmill. My, oh my… this one looks like a veritable Huron-sized lake of sewerage. Can’t wait to read bmaz’s take on this vast expanse of slime and sleaze *g*

          • BlueStateRedHead says:

            know I am mystified. How do you surf the Web on a treadmill? I have tried proofreading on an exercise bike with a lectern and discovered that I have to proofread my proofreading marks afterwards.

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              Totally OT, and personal, sorry…

              I bump up the font size on Safari by about 5 magnitudes so I can read the screen easily from a bit farther away on the exercise machine. I find it makes it more fun to get in my exercise; even if the weather is terrible on any given day, I get in some ‘reading/trotting’ time. And it saves me time that I’d otherwise squander getting to the health club.

              I also bought an extra-long USB cord for my mouse, so it reaches all the way to the computer (from my machine) and makes it quick and easy to click among pages.

              (I scan the Web in the am, find a bunch of interesting pages, then build a Bookmark folder for that day. Then, when I’m getting exercise, I just click through that day’s Bookmark folder. Also works from my stationary cycle. And that way, I don’t feel one bit guilty about ‘wasting time on the Toobz ;-))

              The key for me was bumping up the font size large enough.
              Use your help system for ‘FONT size’ on how to enlarge the text.

              I’m on the computer a lot, and without exercise, my brain turns to mush.
              So ‘the political blogs’ let me multitask – and depending on how irate the news makes me, explains the elevated heart rate ;-))

              • BlueStateRedHead says:

                more personal with more apologies. Got it. The computer stays where it is and the bike is placed in front of it with the font size adjusted and the mouse for clicking, which goes on the lectern, I guess? That should work for me, especially since we have a giant monitor on one of our CPUs.

              • bmaz says:

                Hey I just got a MacBook Air couple of days ago; that would be perfect for your exercise routine! By the way, I think it was you asking about my thoughts on all this. In addition to what is here in this thread, look back here and here. If you want some old background on Renzi, ManTech and the San Pedro River death they caused, check out this excellent story, River Gamble by John Daugherty at New Times.

                William Ockham – You checked out ManTech yet? Nasty outfit; don’t let their cheery website fool you….

  7. BlueStateRedHead says:

    EW and BMAZ,

    I would like to hear your speculation on why this case that has been brewing for so long finally became an indictment, given the change in leadership at the DOJ, if you can call it that; the imminence of the election; the Inspector General’s report for what it’s worth; the attention to the Alabama/Siegelman case from MSM, and all those loose ends.

    And if Edward Teller is around, I would like to have his thoughts on why this indictment has moved forward, but nothing has happened in relation to the Alaska people.

    I know I’m asking a lot, but I know I’m asking the right people. After all, it is Friday and we have no foot ball teams to trash so why not try trashing the DOJ for a change.

    • bmaz says:

      Well, I think that is probably a complex set of circumstances and answer that I don’t really know the details of; however, it is an extremely safe bet that it started with the canning/purging of Paul.

  8. BlueStateRedHead says:

    Renzi’s denial of last April also deserves attention trashing.

    For several weeks, I have been the subject of leaked stories, conjecture, and false attacks about a land exchange. None of them bear any resemblance to the truth, including the rumor that I am planning on resigning.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Thanks, PW. One hopes that any honorable DoJ USAG’s current misfortunes will be revealed as the price they paid under Bu$hCo for their personal integrity.

      Appreciate the info, and I’ve read you often enough now that your reports have legitimacy for me; if you write it, then I’ll believe it.

  9. oldtree says:

    Has Charlton gone on record as to why he was fired? Has he blown the proverbial whistle? Or has he been quiet like the other anointees?

    • MarieRoget says:

      This is an interesting question, as Charlton (like any ethical USA) would never answer questions about the Renzi investigation that weren’t matters of public record before today. Now that the indictments have been announced….?

  10. BlueStateRedHead says:

    while we have Arizona on our minds, BMAZ, anything new about your election Day snafu?

    I care about you, of course, what. I also wonder if the fact of the denial of voting privileges to the other voters of your, excuse my English here, class,that you observed had kicked off enough important people, for there to be any kind of legislative change on the Arizona ID election law.

    this is especially relevant to the Renzi case, as I read on Atrios that in his district is heavily native American and could be an easy pickup for the Democrats except that we know that residents of Reservations are especially affected by these ID laws.

    Any thoughts on the matter, any news?

    • bobschacht says:

      this is especially relevant to the Renzi case, as I read on Atrios that in his district is heavily native American and could be an easy pickup for the Democrats except that we know that residents of Reservations are especially affected by these ID laws.

      Any thoughts on the matter, any news?

      As a former resident of Renzi’s district, the first thing you need to know about it is that it is geographically HUGE! Yes, it includes large parts of the Navajo and Apache reservations, but it also includes thousands of acres of ranch land, several colleges and universities, etc. I joined Democracy for America in Flagstaff in 2003, and we have supported several challengers to Renzi, but its an extremely difficult district to cover.

      Bob in HI

      • BlueStateRedHead says:

        thanks Bob in Hawaii. I saw some of your comments describing the caucus, but would love to hear more about what sounds like a marvelous experience of democracy in action and Democrats in action. Remind me, do you have your own blog? sorry I should note that kind of stuff. But I try to keep my blog reading down to A few main sites or else there would be nothing done all day.

        • bobschacht says:

          thanks Bob in Hawaii. I saw some of your comments describing the caucus, but would love to hear more about what sounds like a marvelous experience of democracy in action and Democrats in action. Remind me, do you have your own blog? sorry I should note that kind of stuff. But I try to keep my blog reading down to A few main sites or else there would be nothing done all day.

          Thanks. Most of my blogging is in the comments here or on FDL, but I occasionally blog at DailyKos, and our state Progressive Democrats blog.

          Bob in HI

  11. BlueStateRedHead says:

    He appears to have 12 kids

    Apparently they all carry his initials that is RRR. Given the effort it takes to name the kids even before you have raised them, one wonders how there was any time left for dirty tricks, not to mention trip to Washington, on behalf of his constituents.

    Admirable multitasker that man.

  12. Phoenix Woman says:

    Well, looky here — Spikey Isikoff commits some journalism!

    He finds a BIG FAT HOLE in McCain’s story:

    A sworn deposition that Sen. John McCain gave in a lawsuit more than five years ago appears to contradict one part of a sweeping denial that his campaign issued this week to rebut a New York Times story about his ties to a Washington lobbyist.


    The deposition that McCain gave came in the course of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of his landmark campaign finance reform law, known as McCain-Feingold. The suit sheds no new light on the nature of the senator’s dealings with Iseman, but it does include a lengthy discussion of his dealings with the company that hired her, including some statements by the senator that could raise additional questions for his campaign.

    In the deposition, noted First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams (who was representing the lawsuit’s lead plaintiff, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell) grilled McCain about the four trips he took aboard Paxson’s corporate jet to campaign events and the $20,000 in campaign contributions he had received from the company’s executives during the period the firm was pressing him to intervene with federal regulators.

    Asked at one point if Paxson’s lobbyist (Abrams never mentions Iseman’s name) had accompanied him on any of the trips he took aboard the Paxson corporate jet, McCain responded, “I do not recall.” (McCain’s campaign confirmed this week that Iseman did fly on one trip returning to Washington from a campaign fund-raiser in Florida.)

    At another point Abrams asked McCain if, “looking back on the events with Mr. Paxson, the contributions, the jets, everything you and I have just talked about, do you believe that it would have been justified for a member of the public to say there is at least an appearance of corruption here?”

    “Absolutely,” McCain replied. “And when I took a thousand dollars or any other hard-money contribution from anybody who does business before the Congress of the United States, then that allegation is justified as well. Because the taint affects all of us.” Elsewhere McCain said about his dealings with Paxson, “As I said before, I believe that there could possibly be an appearance of corruption because this system has tainted all of us.”

  13. BlueStateRedHead says:

    To everyone and to BMAZ, in particular, thanks for answering my questions. I have got to get back to work. I sure enjoyed having this first of many post-Renzi moments, together with you.

  14. Leen says:

    Anyone else notice that Hillary (after pointing the finger at Obama for “plagiarizing” “whole passages”) closed the debate “plagiarizing’ Edwards talking points.
    “I’ll be fine, the question is how will American’s be” theme.
    Edwards endlessly repeated this statement during his run for the Democratic spot.

    Just slightly hypocritical.

    The 800lb gorilla in all of the Republican and Democratic debates continues to be the Israeli Palestinian conflict. There has not been any substantive questions asked by the MSM having to do with this critical issue.

    Confirming once again Mearsheimer and Walts and many more before them claims..most Americans, our media, our candidates are unwilling to discuss this issue in a fair, balanced and transparent way.

    Doubt if Tim Russert will ask both candidates any questions having to do with this issue next Tuesday in Clevelan..but I keep pushing

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, and Edwards took the basic spiel from a Bill Clinton set of lines back in 1992. The whole plagarism junk is inane, but the trope that Hillary ripped off Edwards is really lame because it originally came from Bubba.

  15. maryo2 says:

    Re: James Tobin acquittal

    After three people plead guilty (one later reversed his plea), how he got acquitted is odd. The Chief Judge of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (which reversed Tobin’s conviction) is Michael Boudin. I wonder if there was an DOJ hanky-panky in that reversal (docket no. 06-1883).

    Does this sound odd (from wiki)?

    “Prior to attaining his current judgeship, Boudin briefly served as a judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. A nominee of President George H.W. Bush, Boudin took office in August 1990. Boudin was reportedly bored with this judgeship, and resigned in January 1992 to return to Massachusetts. Two months later , President Bush nominated Boudin to the First Circuit.”

  16. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Yup. My routine:

    1. Put bike/tread in front of computer.
    2. Put the mouse on the bike/tread readout display area.
    — 2.a. I open up my Calendar and click ’new event’ then create an alert for 40 min, or 60 min, or however long I want to goof off

  17. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Whoops! Accidental ’submit’ 8

    – 2.b. Get a big glass of water/juice handy.
    3. Bump up the browser font size super-big.
    4. Ready to walk/ride; start slow for five minutes, then adjust for more challenge if you want. (Just moving is good; don’t overdo it.)
    5. After a given period, a Calendar ‘alert’ pings up on my screen, and I can either reset it for an extra 5 minutes while I cool down, or an extra 15 minutes if I want to read more. Either way, get ready to ‘cool down’ at the end of your walk/ride.
    6. Go v-e-r-y slowly the last 5 minutes, so your muscles cool down and relax.
    7. Get off the tread/bike and then stretch your legs and ankles for about 1 min after you finish (to get rid of any lactic acid buildup, so you’re not sore the next day). **People often forget this small, quick step but it’s actually really important to give your muscles a nice stretch after you’ve used them.**
    8. Back to work.
    9. Repeat process as your time/health allow.

    Bmaz, this setup would work well with your new, airy MacBook setup. Verrryyy cool ;-)))))
    (Will have to read your links on my next jaunt; it appears that this Renzi thing is quite the sordid tale and has already helped me burn a few calories today ;-))

    Happy exercising while blogreading, y’all!

  18. Hmmm says:

    Dunno about the water being used for server-farm cooling. Nuclear power plant cooling I could see. Supplying a huge citylike plant in the desert also works.

Comments are closed.