Legislator from JW’s 2008 Corrupt Pol List Convicted
A member of Judicial Watch’s 2008 “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” list, former Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi, has finally been convicted on more than a dozen federal corruption charges for using his public office to enrich himself and his cronies.
The disgraced three-term Republican was found guilty of 17 felony offenses including conspiracy, honest services wire fraud, extortion under color of official right, racketeering, money laundering and making false statements to insurance regulators. Renzi is scheduled to be sentenced in August and faces decades in prison, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) news release that lays out the convicted lawmaker’s storied career.
Renzi has for years been under fire for his unscrupulous acts and in 2008 was indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy, extortion, money laundering and wire fraud. Authorities accused Renzi of using his influence on a House Natural Resources Committee to orchestrate a land swap with the federal government that financially benefited him and his associates to the tune of millions of dollars. The lawmaker was also charged with embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from clients of his family insurance business to fund his congressional campaign.
The now infamous land deal took place in 2005. Renzi vigorously promoted a property sale near the Fort Huachuca Army post in southeastern Arizona as a swap in which potential buyers could exchange it for more valuable, federally-owned land. Instead, Renzi’s friend sold the 480 acres for a multi-million dollar profit and Renzi never introduced legislation to complete the swap for the new owners.
During his years in the U.S. House of Representatives Renzi consistently introduced and voted for bills that benefited his father’s Virginia-based defense company, Mantech International, and in 2003 he sponsored legislation—that got signed into law—that dealt Mantech hundreds of millions of dollars. At the time Renzi’s father, a retired Army General, was the executive vice president of Mantech, which provided information technology services to a number of intelligence and defense-related government agencies. Coincidentally, executives of Mantech International were Renzi’s largest campaign contributors.
The multiple convictions of this shady politician end what federal prosecutors call a “streak of criminal activity” that betrayed the public trust and abused the political process. “After years of misconduct as a businessman, political candidate and member of Congress, Mr. Renzi now faces the consequences for breaking the laws that he took an oath to support and defend,” said the Assistant Attorney General handling the case for the DOJ.