The Knucklehead of the Day award
Today's winner is Republican Congressman Rick Renzi from Arizona. He gets the award for the following.
Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) failed to disclose a $200,000 payment he received from a business partner in 2005 in apparent violation of House ethics rules. Prosecutors could use the omission as evidence that Renzi intended to conceal a transaction he knew to be controversial or even improper.
The $200,000 was a payment from James Sandlin to settle a debt related to a previous business transaction involving land in northeast Arizona, one of the lawmaker’s attorneys, Grant Woods, told a newspaper last week.
This explanation might have been expected to dispel suspicion that Sandlin gave Renzi an illegal gift in exchange for action Renzi took to help Sandlin sell a $4 million parcel of land.
But Renzi’s claim that Sandlin’s $200,000 payment was a legitimate business transaction is weakened by the fact that he failed to disclose it in his personal financial disclosure report for 2005 filed with the House clerk.
Renzi’s spokesman did not respond to several requests for comment. Renzi’s attorney also failed to respond to requests for comment.
The lawmaker’s 2005 report lists only one transaction: the sale of Renzi’s wine company, Renzi Vino Inc., which the congressman reportedly sold to his father for between $500,000 and $1 million. According to a filing with the state of Arizona, Rep. Renzi was the only major shareholder in Renzi Vino before he sold it.
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the FBI is investigating the Sandlin payment to determine whether Renzi profited from a land deal he may have advanced through his position on the House Natural Resources Committee.
Rumors are swirling that Renzi will resign, the congressman is denying them of course. Renzi's land dealings may also effect the future of Fort Huachuca, an army installation in Arizona.
Just another crooked politician out to use his office to benefit himself. Resign Congressman, you're a disgrace.
As Jim Addison at Wizbang Politics wrote-
My position on corrupt politicians is simple and consistent: irrespective of party membership, those convicted of corruption in office should be hung, drawn, and quartered, and their heads placed on stakes along the Potomac as a warning to others.TFM agrees and adds one parting gift for Congressman Rick Renzi. He is today's Knucklehead of the Day.
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