Chris Smith says that he wants to run on his record in Congress. Unfortunately, there are parts of his record that voters may find less than appealing.
Chris Smith donated $2,000 to the reelection campaign of corrupt Congressman Rick Renzi. He made the contribution on May 16, 2007, nearly a month after the FBI raided the Renzi family insurance business for additional evidence. (Chris Smith, July Quarterly Disbursement Report)
On April 19, 2007 the FBI raided the Renzi office as part of well known investigation into Renzi's role in a government land-swap. Renzi used his government position to influence the deal, collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in payoffs.
Chris Smith cannot claim ignorance. Renzi's corruption was very public and forced him to resign from the House Intelligence Committee. The scandal generated national attention because Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez had previously fired the federal prosecutor who opened the investigation in 2006. Renzi has since been indicted on 35 counts of corruption. (Phoenix Business Journal, April 20, 2007 Washington Post, Feb 23, 2008)
Why did Chris Smith feel it was important to give cash to an obviously corrupt Congressman? No other Member of Congress made such a show of solidarity. We know Smith went out of his way to show his support, because Renzi was the only campaign to receive a contribution from Smith during the reporting period.
"Chris Smith has the wrong priorities. Instead of focusing on high gas prices and our struggling economy, Chris Smith decided to spend time making a political contribution to a Congressman facing federal indictment on corruption charges." said Josh Zeitz Campaign Manager Steve D'Amico.
Today, it was my plan to start focusing less on presidential diaries and more on Congressional races. But, thanks to John McCain, I have the opportunity to write a diary that focuses on a little of both. As we all know, the corrupt Rick Renzi is retiring to face a grand jusry, but it gets even better. McCain is doing his best to help Democrats win this seat According to the progressive blog Down With Tyranny! McCain has decided to endorse a candidate who used his ifluence to get his rapist son out of jail.
While all of us on the left rejoice at the NRCC's lackluster fundraising, and while most Republicans are resigned to the fact that this will not be a blowout year for them, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) is clearly not content to sit this one out, as he exhorted his colleagues to get off their "dead asses" and pony up for the party. Boehner has a lot to be angry about, what with the slew of retirements, and now the corruption scandal surrounding Rick Renzi (R-AZ). Apparently, Boehner has been urging Renzi to step down-- the one time he actually wants a colleague to retire, it doesn't happen!
Either way, seeing a Republican become this unhinged gives me a thrill. It shows that they are losing control, and, if more of them start showing their tempers publicly, we can trot out the footage, and frame their entire party as foaming-at-the-mouth lunatic beasts. And that, I dare say, would be a satisfying payback after their decades of characterizing us as effeminate sissies. So, go on, Boehner. Keep ranting . . . PLEASE!
I'm lovin' this. On Friday, outgoing GOP congressmember Rick Renzi gets indicted on 35 counts of corrupt bastardy. Later that same day, embattled Republican Minority Leader John Boehner calls on Renzi to resign immediately. Obviously, Boehner doesn't want a replay of the DeLay and Ney dramas, where tales of Republican wrongdoing played out in the media over many many months.
"I will not resign and take on the cloak of guilt because I am innocent," Renzi said per a statement released by his congressional office. "My legal team of Reid Weingarten and Kelly Kramer will handle these legal issues while I continue to serve my constituents."
I especially love the shout-out to his attorneys. It'll make them that much easier to find on his campaign finance reports. Thanks for everything, Rick!