Feb 22, 2008

McCain campaign co-chair indicted for corruption

On the heels of Republican Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain defending his alleged improper role with a lobbyist, the Bloomberg News is reporting the Arizona co-chair of his campaign has been indicted for corruption.

U.S. Rep Rick Renzi, a Republican from Arizona, was indicated by a federal grand jury Friday in an alleged scheme to profit from a land deal. He is also accused of embezzling money from insurance clients to fund his congressional campaign.

The U.S. Justice Department alleged in the 35-count indictment that Renzi offered to sponsor legislation to help a company seeking to swap land with the federal government if it purchased property owned by his alleged co-conspirator, real estate developer James Sandlin. The indictment also includes charges of conspiracy, money laundering, insurance fraud and wire fraud. The arraignment will be on March 6 in U.S. District Court in Tucson, according to the report.

The Renzi investigation was highlighted during a congressional inquiry last year into the Bush administration's firings of nine U.S. attorneys. One of the dismissed prosecutors, Paul Charlton, had been in charge of the probe. Democrats claimed then that the firings might have been carried out to slow or stop public corruption cases against Republicans.

On Wednesday the New York Times reported in a front page story that McCain might have done legislative favors for the clients of a lobbyist named Vicki Iseman. The Huffington Post is also reporting that lobbyists are playing a major role in McCain’s campaign, and he has at least double the number of lobbyists in major roles in his campaign than any of the other three leading presidential candidates.

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