Renzi Playing a Part in the Ousted Attorneys Story

On October 24, 2006 I posted about a possible investigation of my representative, Rick Renzi (AZ-01). Here’s a snippet from the original story:

A land deal involving Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., is being scrutinized by the U.S. attorney’s office in Arizona, a law enforcement official in Washington said Tuesday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity while the inquiry is ongoing, said the investigation has been under way for a few months and is still in its very early stages.

The official did not specify what land deal was under investigation.

A spokesman for the Arizona U.S. attorney, Paul Charlton, said he could not confirm or deny an investigation was under way.

See the name of the Arizona U.S. attorney? It’s Paul Charlton, one of the attorneys fired from the Department of Justice. Would you guess that his going after a Republican could have anything to do with it?

I’d wondered what had happened to the investigation after not hearing anything about it since the story broke. Now it makes sense. The Arizona Republic has a story today based on some of the 3000 emails that the DoJ and Bush administration turned over.

Charlton’s ouster is emerging as another red flag in the prosecutor purge, with congressional investigators and others trying to figure out if he was scuttled by partisan politics. Administration critics say the dismissals of at least two prosecutors, David Iglesias of New Mexico and Carol Lam of San Diego, have been linked to political investigations by their offices. . .

When the first list of U.S. attorneys targeted for ouster was drafted, Charlton’s name was not on it. But his name was on a subsequent list, drafted in September. Although the Renzi inquiry was not yet public, it is likely the Justice Department was aware of the investigation, said a former U.S. attorney who is familiar with the protocol when a sitting lawmaker is involved.

“If we had anything of a major investigative nature, I would notify the Justice Department,” said Melvin McDonald, who was Arizona’s U.S. attorney in the Reagan administration. “Typically, that’s what happens.”

The newest e-mails, memos and other records raise fresh questions about whether there were political motivations for Charlton’s ouster, as the documents indicate that Justice Department officials were still – after the fact – trying to settle on a complete explanation for why Charlton was called on Dec. 7 and told to resign.

The guys who lead this country would be very happy leading a banana republic, wouldn’t they?

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