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Rick Renzi

Rick Renzi
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 1st district
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by Jeff Flake
Succeeded by Ann Kirkpatrick
Personal details
Born (1958-06-11) June 11, 1958
Fort Monmouth, New Jersey
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Roberta Renzi
Residence Flagstaff, Arizona
Alma mater Northern Arizona University
Occupation insurance executive
Religion Roman Catholic

Richard George "Rick" Renzi (born June 11, 1958) is a former American politician and was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives representing Arizona's 1st congressional district. Renzi was convicted on Federal criminal charges against him for his involvement in a land-swap deal.

The charges for personal gain of over $700,000 were filed in 2008.[1][2][3] On April 19, 2007, the FBI had raided his family business, and he temporarily resigned from the House Intelligence Committee.[4] On April 27 Renzi denied printed claims he was considering resigning office;[5] however, on August 23, Renzi announced he would not be a candidate for re-election in 2008.[6][7] On February 22, 2008, Renzi was indicted on 35 counts connected to land deals.[8] He pled not guilty. On June 12, 2013, Renzi was convicted on 17 of 32 counts in his corruption case that accused him of using his office for personal financial gain and looting a family insurance business to help pay for his 2002 campaign.[9] On October 28, 2013, he was sentenced to three years in prison.[10]


  • Early life, education, and family 1
  • Career prior to Congress 2
  • U.S. House of Representatives 3
    • Move to Arizona 3.1
    • 2002 election 3.2
      • Primary election 3.2.1
      • General election 3.2.2
      • Campaign finances 3.2.3
    • 2004 re-election 3.3
    • 2006 re-election 3.4
    • Issues and positions 3.5
  • Controversies 4
    • Father's company 4.1
    • 2005 land swap 4.2
    • Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy 4.3
    • Employment of Patty Roe 4.4
    • Reported floor fight 4.5
    • Funds from DeLay's PAC 4.6
  • Indictment and conviction 5
  • Electoral history 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life, education, and family

Renzi was born to an Italian-American family[11] in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. He attended high school in Annandale, Virginia, before moving to Sierra Vista, Arizona, in 1975, where his father, the late U.S. Army Major General (Ret.) Eugene "Gene" Renzi, served at Fort Huachuca. Renzi graduated from Buena High School and then attended Northern Arizona University, receiving a B.S. in criminal justice in 1980. Renzi played football for NAU and was a starting offensive lineman.

Until his death, Renzi's father was an executive vice president at ManTech International, a company providing information technology services to a number of intelligence and defense-related federal government agencies.

Renzi and his wife Roberta are the parents of 14 children, the most of any member of Congress. Additionally, all of his children have first names that begin with the letter R.[12]

Career prior to Congress

Where Renzi lived and what he did throughout the 1986–1997 period is unclear. In a letter to the Arizona Daily Sun in July 2002, Renzi said "The only time I have not lived in Arizona is when I served our nation overseas on a Defense Department program, or when I entered law school at age 39" [which would be 1997 or 1998].[13] But according to an August 2002 Associated Press article, Renzi said that between college, starting in the late 1970s, and his return some 20 years later, he had lived in Flagstaff for only a total of seven years. The AP article also said "Renzi made much of his money while living in Burke, Virginia, about 20 minutes from downtown Washington. He has owned a $765,000 two-story, six-bedroom home on five acres there since 1991, according to Fairfax County, Virginia, property records."[14]

In 1989, Renzi started Renzi & Company (now called the Patriot Insurance Agency),[15] a company that offers insurance to nonprofit organizations such as

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jeff Flake
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 1st congressional district

January 3, 2003 - January 3, 2009
Succeeded by
Ann Kirkpatrick
  • Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
  • Profile at SourceWatch
  • Rick Renzi for U.S. Congress, Campaign site
  • [2], Second Superseding Indictment, US Dept of Justice, 09/28/2009

External links

  1. ^ a b c "Arizona GOP lawmaker indicted". CNN. February 22, 2008. 
  2. ^ Johnston, David (October 25, 2006). "Congressman From Arizona Is the Focus of an Inquiry". New York Times. 
  3. ^ Weisman, Jonathan, and Dan Eggen (October 25, 2006). "Lawmaker's Influence in Land Deals Probed". The Washington Post. 
  4. ^ a b "FBI raids Renzi business; he vows full cooperation". Arizona Daily Sun. April 20, 2007. Archived from the original on April 22, 2007. 
  5. ^ Sunnucks, Mike (April 26, 2007). "Replacements waiting in wings as Renzi ponders resignation". Business Journal of Phoenix.  "Renzi Denies Resignation Rumors". Roll Call. April 27, 2007. 
  6. ^ "Renzi Says He Will Not Seek Re-Election". Roll Call. August 23, 2007. 
  7. ^ a b Wilke, John, "Renzi Won't Seek Re-Election as Federal Inquiry Broadens" Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2007, p. A6.
  8. ^ Rep. Renzi indicted on corruption charges}
  9. ^ a b "Former Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi convicted on 17 of 32 counts in corruption case". Washington Post. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  10. ^ Christie, Bob (28 October 2013). "Ex-Rep. Rick Renzi Gets 3 Years In Prison For Corruption Convictions". A.P. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  11. ^ "The Italian American Congressional Delegation". Order Sons of Italy in America. Archived from the original on May 14, 2006. 
  12. ^ "Waiting for the end, boys". The Economist. October 12, 2006. 
  13. ^ a b Letter from Rick Renzi, published on July 7, 2002, Arizona Daily Sun
  14. ^ a b c d Thomsen, Scott, "Kyl disputes Renzi's resume", Associated Press, August 17, 2002.
  15. ^ Patriot Insurance Company — "Our Mission and Profile", accessed October 23, 2006.
  16. ^ Patriot Insurance Company — "Products and Services", accessed October 23, 2006
  17. ^ "Rep. Rick Renzi, Former PIA Member, Says He Wouldn't Be in Congress Without PIA", National Association of Professional Insurance Agents website, dated April 12, 2006, accessed October 23, 2006.
  18. ^ "Renzi's finances could be trouble",, March 6, 2004.
  19. ^ "1st District candidates play up their local roots",, June 17, 2002.
  20. ^ Candee, Adam, "Renzi Loans Campaign $585,000 to Outspend Rivals," Arizona Daily Sun, July 21, 2002.
  21. ^ Solop, Frederic I., and James I. Bowie, "The 2002 Arizona First Congressional District Race" (pdf), PSOnline e-Symposium, July 2003.
  22. ^ Thomsen, Scott, "Renzi wins; Cordova leads Udall", Associated Press, September 11, 2002.
  23. ^ a b "Congressional candidates offer more answers",, August 14, 2002.
  24. ^ Shorey, Ananda, "Bush campaigns for Salmon, Renzi", Associated Press, October 28, 2002.
  25. ^ Levine, Alan, "Interior secretary visits CG in support of Renzi campaign", Casa Grande Dispatch, September 17, 2006.
  26. ^ "Mel Martinez",, October 1, 2002.
  27. ^ Ghioto, Gary, and Michael Marizco, "Renzi edges Cordova", Arizona Daily Sun, November 7, 2002.
  28. ^ Kitching, Harold, "Sparks fly in race for 1st District seat",, October 15, 2002.
  29. ^ Ghioto, Gary, and Michael Marizco, "Renzi disowns attack ads", Arizona Daily Sun, November 7, 2002.
  30. ^ "Arizona District 1: 2002 Race Profile".  
  31. ^ a b Fenske, Sarah, "Deal Breaker: Congressman Rick Renzi and the very strange coincidence", Phoenix New Times, October 12, 2006.
  32. ^ Cole, Cyndy and Ferguson, J. (2006-09-10). "FEC drops probe of Renzi finances". Arizona Daily Sun. Retrieved 2009-10-28. 
  33. ^ "Total Raised and Spent". 2004 Race: Arizona District 1. Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved 2007-02-05. 
  34. ^ "Schlosser Offers Real Choice in Election for Arizona’s First Congressional District". 2006-05-23. Archived from the original on 2006-12-13. Retrieved 2015-05-29. 
  35. ^ "Renzi Receives Award From American Legion", press release from Renzi's office, March 12, 2004. Archived July 7, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  36. ^ "Renzi Bill Will Remove Arizona from Jurisdiction of Ninth Circuit Court", press release, April 30, 2004.
  37. ^ Renzi's position on Border Security, Renzi's Congressional website, accessed October 22, 2006. Archived August 2, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^ "Renzi Fights to Increase Tribal Law Enforcement Funding by $5 Million. Congressman offers Amendment to Strip Funding from UN and Give it to Tribes", Renzi press release, June 29, 2006.
  39. ^ VandeHei, Jim, and Chris Cillizza, "A New Alliance Of Democrats Spreads Funding", The Washington Post, July 17, 2006.
  40. ^ CREW summary of ethics issues of Renzi, September 2006.
  41. ^ MikeCforCongress (2005-09-01). "AZ-01: Message from Mike Caccioppoli". Retrieved 2007-02-05. 
  42. ^ "Eugene C. Renzi, 74; Major General".  
  43. ^ Johnston, David (2006-10-25). "THE 2006 CAMPAIGN; Congressman From Arizona Is the Focus Of an Inquiry". New York Times. p. A-14. Retrieved 2007-02-05.  (preview only)
  44. ^ Wagner, Dennis, and Dan Nowicki, "Secrecy, scandal cloud Renzi era: Reclusive lawmaker leaves legacy of questions", Arizona Republic, August 26, 2007.
  45. ^ Fischer, Howard, "Court upholds ex-Rep. Renzi's conviction", Arizona Daily Sun, October 10, 2014. Retrieved 2015-05-29.
  46. ^ "Copper exec says ex-congressman issued land-swap threat", USA Today, May 16, 2013. Retrieved 2015-05-29.
  47. ^ Stout, David, and Paul Giblin, "Arizona Congressman Indicted in Land Swap Scam", New York Times, February 22, 2008. Retrieved 2015-05-29.
  48. ^ Bolton, Alexander (April 26, 2007). "Renzi didn’t reveal $200K". The Hill. 
  49. ^ a b Blumenthal, Max (2007-03-20). "The Porn Plot Against Prosecutors". The Nation. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  50. ^ Wilke, John (2007-04-21). "Land-Swap Plan Causes Trouble For Congressman". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2007-04-23. 
  51. ^ a b House, Billy (2006-10-26). "Inquiry on Renzi: Real deal or campaign trickery?". Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2007-02-05. 
  52. ^ Hutcheson, Ron (2007-03-13). "Emails detail plans for firing U.S. attorneys". McClatchy Newspapers. Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  53. ^ Madden, Mike (2007-03-21). "Renzi inquiry at issue in ouster". Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  54. ^ a b Wilke, John R.,; Evan Perez (April 25, 2007). "Delays in Renzi Case Raise More Gonzales Questions". The Wall Street Journal. p. A2. 
  55. ^ Talhem, Jennifer (April 24, 2007). "Lawmaker Leaves Panels After FBI Raid". The Washington Post. Associated Press. 
  56. ^ Silverstein, Ken, "The Patty Roe Story: the interesting ethics of Congressman Rick Renzi", Harper's Magazine, September 14, 2006.
  57. ^ "RINO Group Running Push Polls in His District Infuriates Rep. Rick Renzi; Kolbe is a Member", Arizona Republic, May 22, 2005.
  58. ^ "Contributions from ARMPAC to 109th Members of Congress, 1994-2006". DeLay's Money, Part 9.  
  59. ^ "Republican Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi indicted on multiple federal charges", AP, February 22, 2008 Archived February 25, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  60. ^  
  61. ^ Judge Throws Out Wiretaps in Renzi Case
  62. ^ Turner, Channing, "Appeals Court Denies Rehearing of Renzi Case", Main Justice (Washington, DC), August 1, 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  63. ^ Stout, David. "Justices decline to hear appeal of ex-Arizona Congressman Renzi" Main Justice, Washington, DC, 17 January 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  64. ^ 'Ex-lawmaker sentenced to three years for fraud', Wall Street Journal, Tamara Audi, 28 October 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  65. ^ United States v. Renzi, __ F.3d __ (9th Cir. 2014)
  66. ^
  67. ^, 2015 February 27.
  68. ^
  69. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 


Arizona's 1st congressional district: Results 2002–2006[69]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd party Party Votes Pct
2002 George Cordova 79,730 46% Rick Renzi 85,967 49% Edwin Porr Libertarian 8,990 5%
2004 Paul Babbitt 91,776 36% Rick Renzi 148,315 59% John Crockett Libertarian 13,260 5%
2006 Ellen Simon 88,691 43% Rick Renzi 105,646 52% David Schlosser Libertarian 9,802 5%

Electoral history

[68] He is Bureau of Prisons inmate 29375-208 and scheduled for release on January 7, 2017.[67] On February 27, 2015, Renzi reported to

On June 12, 2013, a jury convicted Renzi on 17 of 32 counts in his corruption case that accused him of using his office for personal financial gain and looting a family insurance business to help pay for his 2002 campaign.[9] That October, Renzi was sentenced to three years in prison.[64] Renzi appealed his conviction to the Ninth Circuit, but the court upheld the jury's verdict.[65] The United States Supreme Court denied certiorari.[66]

Renzi appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, asking the court to stop his prosecution. A three-judge panel held that Renzi's prosecution could go forward and the full court let pass a petition to rehear that decision en banc, allowing the case against Renzi to proceed.[62] Renzi appealed to the Supreme Court but it also declined to hear his appeal so he was put on trial.[63]

On February 22, 2008, Congressman Renzi was indicted on multiple federal charges.[59] The charges included conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering extortion and insurance fraud.[1] In October 2009, the government added a conspiracy to commit insurance fraud charge to the indictment. It alleged that Renzi and others willfully embezzled from a risk retention company called Spirit Mountain.[60] In June 2010, a Federal District Judge ruled that procedural errors precluded the prosecution from using available wire-taps as evidence in the case going forward.[61]

Indictment and conviction

Renzi also received $30,000 in campaign contributions from former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's ARMPAC.[58]

Funds from DeLay's PAC

Renzi was an opponent of embryonic stem cell research. In May 2005, he engaged in an argument on the House floor with Congressman Mark Kirk (R-IL). The argument ensued after Renzi had learned that Kirk and the moderate Republican Main Street Partnership commissioned secret polling in the districts of Renzi and other members of Congress who oppose stem cell research. Renzi said, "I was yelling at him. I told him it's absolutely unprecedented that Republicans would pay for a push poll to attack another Republican on such a core belief of mine... You're not going to change my view on the issue, as a father of 12."[57]

Reported floor fight

Roe also received about $30,000 in fundraising fees in 2006 from four other House members: Tom Feeney; Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Mario Diaz-Balart, both of Florida; and Patrick McHenry of North Carolina. Renzi's office said those payments were for services rendered in 2005. There is no evidence that Roe's activities are not in compliance with House ethics standards.[56]

To be in compliance with the rules, Roe must be doing all her fundraising work before she clocks in to work as Renzi's administrative assistant, or after she checks out, and she can't make or receive a single fundraising-related call in her House office. Renzi's spokesman Vartan Djihanian said that this is the case: "Whatever fundraising she does," he said, "is on her time."

In December 2005, Renzi hired Patty Roe, the wife of Jason Roe, the chief of staff of Representative Tom Feeney (R-FL), as his full-time administrative assistant. In that position, she is paid $95,000 per year. Renzi also pays her $5,000 per month ($60,000 per year) as a fundraising consultant (she ran her own consulting business before being hired by Renzi).

Employment of Patty Roe

On April 24, 2007, Renzi stepped down from the House Financial Services and Natural Resources committees, as more revelations connected him to the U.S. attorneys controversy. During that afternoon, Paul Charlton, the US Attorney from Arizona who was one of those fired, related to a House investigators that Brian Murray, Renzi's top aide, called Charlton spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle shortly after news of Renzi's investigation became public, asking for information on the case. Charlton, in turn, notified the Department of Justice about the call. Justice, in turn, had not previously notified Congress of the contact.[55]

Further, the Journal noted that investigators had lobbied Washington for clearance to tap Renzi's phone for months. That clearance was only given in October 2006, but unfortunately for the investigators, word broke of the investigation soon after, disrupting their wiretap.[54]

The delays, which postponed key approvals in the case until after the election, raise new questions about whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales or other officials may have weighed political issues in some investigations.... Investigators pursuing the Renzi case had been seeking clearance from senior Justice Department officials on search warrants, subpoenas and other legal tools for a year before the election, people close to the case said.... ...the investigation clearly moved slowly: Federal agents opened the case no later than June 2005, yet key witnesses didn't get subpoenas until early this year, those close to the case said. The first publicly known search — a raid of a Renzi family business by the Federal Bureau of Investigation — was[n't] carried out [until April 2007]....[54]

The Wall Street Journal explained further allegations: that the Department of Justice intentionally delayed part of the investigation of Renzi until after the November 2006 election. They wrote:

On March 19, 2007, the White House released 3,000 pages of records connected to the controversy, including emails sent by Charlton to the Justice Department about his dismissal. On December 21, 2006, Charlton sent a message to Bill Mercer, the third-ranking official in the department, writing, "Media now asking if I was asked to resign over leak in Congressman Renzi investigation." Charlton never received a response.[53]

Shortly after initiating the investigation of Renzi, the US Attorney for Arizona, Paul Charlton, was added to a list of US attorneys the Justice Department wanted to remove, in an effort that would become the dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy. In February 2005, Charlton had been on the "retain" list of Kyle Sampson, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's chief of staff, but "by September of 2006 — after it became clear that Charlton had launched an investigation of Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz, — Sampson included the Arizona prosecutor on another list of U.S. attorneys 'we now should consider pushing out.'"[52] Sampson made the comment in a September 13, 2006, letter to then-White House Counsel Harriet Miers.[49]

According to the Arizona Republic, "The federal official would not discuss whether the Justice Department was being manipulated for political purposes. However, the official said it is unusual for the department to publicly acknowledge concerns about the accuracy of media reports." In the same story, the official said the Justice Department contacted at least two newspapers about "chunks of stuff in their stories that's wrong."[51]

After the land swap controversy was revealed, an unnamed official from the US Department of Justice cautioned the media not to jump to conclusions regarding the inquiry into Renzi, saying it "is not a well-developed investigation, by any means. A tip comes into the department. The department is obligated to follow up ... and we do that. People are assuming there is evidence of some crime," even though that is not necessarily true. The official added, "Be careful. I can confirm to you a very early investigation. But I want to caution you not to chop this guy's (Renzi's) head off."[51]

Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy
( )
G. W. Bush administration officials involved
Involved administration officials who resigned
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
110th Congress
U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary
110th Congress

Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy

On February 22, 2008, a Federal Grand Jury in Arizona handed up a 35-count indictment charging with conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering extortion and insurance fraud.[1]

The case could add fuel to the firestorm over the Bush administration's firing of federal prosecutors late last year. Paul Charlton, the U.S. Attorney who had been overseeing the case, was among those dismissed at the behest of the White House. A spokesman for Mr. Renzi dismissed as "a political hatchet job" the suggestion that Mr. Charlton's firing was connected to the probe of Mr. Renzi. On Thursday, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told Congress that none of the dismissals were politically motivated, and said the Justice Department is committed to battling corruption."
Mr. Renzi denies any wrongdoing and says that he intends to cooperate with the investigation. The search of the family business, he said in a statement Friday, is "the first step toward getting the truth out." His lawyer says the cash payment he received was to settle an unrelated debt.
"That investigation has now become a formal public-corruption probe by a federal grand jury in Tucson. On Thursday, the grand jury authorized a search warrant of a Renzi family business. Investigators have uncovered evidence that Mr. Renzi received a cash payment from his former business partner, funneled through a family wine company, after a second investor group pursuing an unrelated land swap agreed to pay $4 million for the alfalfa field, according to people contacted in the course of the two-year investigation.

John Wilke in the Wall Street Journal writes,[50]

On October 24, 2006, the Associated Press reported that the U.S. attorney's office in Arizona has opened an investigation into the land swap deal. The US Attorney for Arizona, Paul Charlton, had initiated the investigation in September 2006.[49]

In 2007 news came of another $200,000 payment that Sandlin made to Renzi, this one in 2005, that Renzi failed to report on financial disclosure forms.[48]

Renzi told the New Times that he did nothing wrong and that sometime after his announcement he recused himself from the bill after a lobbyist's questioned his connection to Sandlin. The land swap never became law.[31]

In October 2005, three years after the business transaction with Sandlin, Renzi announced he'd be introducing a bill in Congress that would include a swap of land owned by Sandlin (not in Renzi's district) for federal land near Florence, Arizona.[45][46] A week after Renzi's announcement, Sandlin sold his land for $4.5 million,[47] a much higher price than he paid for it.

According to the Phoenix New Times, in 2002 Renzi sold off a half-interest in his real estate investment business to a fellow investor, James Sandlin, for $200,000. Renzi used the money for his 2002 congressional campaign. In 2003, Renzi sold the remainder of the business to Sandlin, for somewhere between $1 million and $5 million, according to financial records, retaining a "future development interest".[44]

2005 land swap

On February 22, 2008, Renzi was indicted on multiple federal charges as a result of the investigation.

On April 19, 2007, the FBI raided his family business, and he temporarily resigned from the House Intelligence Committee.[4]

On October 25, 2006, just two weeks before Election Day, The New York Times reported that federal authorities have opened an inquiry into the case. According to the Times, the "officials said the inquiry was at an early stage and that no search warrants had been issued, suggesting that investigators had yet to determine whether there was a basis to open a formal investigation or empanel a grand jury."[43] Federal investigators in Arizona reported that unexplained delays were encountered in getting permission from Washington for investigations prior to the 2006 election.[7]

In 2003, Renzi sponsored legislation (signed into law in November 2003) that put hundreds of millions of dollars to Eugene's business while, according to environmentalists, devastating the San Pedro River. The provision exempted Fort Huachuca, in Sierra Vista, Arizona, from maintaining water levels in the San Pedro River as called for in an agreement made in 2002 with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Renzi claimed he introduced the measure to prevent the closing of the Fort and to promote its enlargement. Neither the fort nor the river is located in Renzi’s Congressional district.

Renzi has been criticized for consistently introducing and voting in favor of bills benefiting his father's defense company, ManTech International Corp., a Fairfax, Virginia,-based defense contractor.[41] Until his death in February 2008,[42] Renzi’s father, Retired Major General Eugene Renzi, was an executive vice president of the firm. ManTech had $467 million in contracts at the Army's Fort Huachuca with options for an additional $1.1 billion between 2004 through 2008. In addition, the company, which has an office in Sierra Vista, Arizona, was the largest contributor to Renzi’s 2002 congressional campaign and the second largest in his 2004 campaign.

Father's company

In September 2006, Renzi was named one of the "20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress" in a report by [40] He was subsequently listed in CREW's 2007 and 2008 reports as well.


On December 14, 2005, he voted for the reauthorization of the Patriot Act. On June 29, 2005, he voted for the increase of funds by $25 million for anti-marijuana print and TV ads.

In June 2006, the House accepted an amendment proposed by Renzi to increase tribal law enforcement funding by $5 million and decrease spending for international organizations such as the United Nations by the same amount.[38]

Renzi was generally a supporter of expanded legal immigration into the United States and supported expansion of guest worker programs and the H1B visa. He did strongly support using technology to enforce border security.[37]

In 2004, Renzi and Representative Jon Porter introduced legislation to split the Ninth Circuit court, currently the largest circuit in the U.S., which includes Arizona, into three smaller circuits. John Ensign of Nevada introduced similar legislation in the Senate.[36]

Renzi was named one of the American Legion's "Unsung Heroes" of the 108th Congress. American Legion National Commander John Brieden noted that "The 108th Congress passed a record increase in Department of Veterans Affairs health care funding for the current fiscal year, and it reduced the number of service-disabled military retirees subject to a 'disability tax' on their retired pay." Brieden said "I commend Representative Renzi for taking a leadership role in making that happen."[35]

In 2002, in response to a question about spiraling health care costs, Renzi said "In order to keep health insurance costs competitive, we must allow the self-employed to take annual tax deductions for their health-care costs. We must change the health insurance industry by allowing employees to purchase their own health-care policy. This would allow for personal ownership of health-care policies, which would provide portability, more choice and thus more competition, which leads to lower health-care premiums."[23]

Issues and positions

On August 23, 2007, Renzi announced he would not seek another term.

Renzi won his re-election against Simon, 52% to 44%.

Renzi faced no opposition from his own party in the Republican primary. Five Democratic Party candidates, including Bob Donahue, Mike Caccioppoli, Susan Friedman, Ellen Simon, and Vic McKerlie, ran in the 2006 primary in September, which was won by Ellen Simon, an attorney and community activist. David Schlosser was also in the November general election on the Libertarian Party ticket.[34]

2006 re-election

[33] In preparation for the 2004 campaign, the Democratic Party in Arizona tapped Paul Babbitt,

2004 re-election

In 2004, the Federal Election Commission completed an audit of Renzi's campaign committee, "Rick Renzi for Congress." The audit found that Renzi's campaign overstated its cash on hand by about $64,000, and that employers or occupations for 200 contributors were not listed, though required by law. The FEC also concluded that the committee had illegally financed much of the campaign with $369,090 of loans that came from "impermissible" corporate funds. Most of those loans were part of the $436,000 that Renzi put into his own campaign.[31] Renzi was fined $1,000 in November 2005 by the FEC for underreported receipts stemming from what his campaign called a software glitch. During the summer before the 2006 election, the FEC dropped all charges related to the 2002 alleged use of impermissible corporate funds for his campaign.[32]

Renzi spent $436,590 of his own money on the election. In addition to large donations from his father's defense company, Mantech International, Mantech executives were the largest single source of outside money for the campaign.[30]

Campaign finances

On election day, Renzi defeated Cordova by 49 percent to 46 percent, a difference of about 6,000 votes.

During the 2002 election campaign, Renzi proposed that Walnut Canyon National Monument in Northern Arizona be renamed the "National Park of the American Flag" with the addition an American flag theme to the park, including displays of U.S. flags throughout history. This was in response to proposals by local citizens that Walnut Canyon National Monument be expanded and given National Park status. Renzi's proposal was widely ridiculed, and he has not promoted it since.

The campaign included the heavy use of negative advertising attacking Cordova, including accusing him of cheating investors out of $1 million in a failed business venture, failing to pay income and business taxes, and living in California. Cordova denied the charges but had no funds to buy many television ads to refute them.[27] The Renzi campaign also made heavy use of automated telephone calls throughout the district with various claims and innuendos about Cordova.[28] Renzi said of the $2 million spent on negative ads, that he "took no joy in any of that." Renzi said he had tried to tell the National Republican Congressional Committee that the negative ads were the wrong way to go.[29]

Renzi received significant support from the national Republican party in the race: President Bush visited twice, including a fundraiser; Vice President Cheney appeared at a fund-raising luncheon;[24] Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton visited the district to support Renzi;[25] and so did Mel Martinez, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.[26]

General election

The 2002 Democratic primary, also hotly contested, was narrowly won by George Cordova, a party outsider who ran against several better-known candidates supported by the Democratic National Committee. (There was no incumbent for the seat, in a new district created after the 2000 census gave the state two more Representatives.)[22][23]

Renzi won a hotly contested Republican primary election against five other candidates; his closest opponents were Lewis Noble Tenney, a former Navajo County supervisor, and conservative radio personality Sydney Ann Hay of Munds Park. Renzi outspent his primary opponents by a substantial sum of money. He invested $585,000 of his own money and raised another $100,000 to run radio and TV ads throughout the district.[20] Renzi received 24.4 percent of the 46,585 votes cast in the Republican primary, with half of his votes coming from Yavapai County.[21]

Primary election

2002 election

In 2002, Renzi acknowledged that he returned to Arizona with the intention of running for Congress, but defended his state ties. He noted that between college and his return to Arizona, he lived in Flagstaff for a total of seven years. There is proof Renzi was living in Arizona after college because, Renzi and his wife did have several children who were born in Sierra Vista, AZ. Renzi also said he owned more than 400 acres (1.6 km2) in northern Arizona through a real estate development and improvement business, in addition to a small vineyard and ranch in Sonoita, Arizona, west of Sierra Vista, in the 8th congressional district, and a home in Kingman. During the campaign, Renzi said "Let the chips fall where they may if I'm a carpetbagger."[14][18][19]

Renzi moved his official residence from Virginia to Arizona in 1999, registering to vote in Santa Cruz County. In 2001, he bought a $216,000 home in Flagstaff, moving his voting registration there in December of that year.

Move to Arizona

U.S. House of Representatives

In 1997 or 1998, Renzi began to take law courses at The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. He finished his coursework in December 2001[13] and graduated with a J.D. in 2002. While he was studying law, he was also an unpaid intern in Senator Jon Kyl's office for two months in 1999, and in 2001 he spent several months as an unpaid intern for Representative Jim Kolbe.[14] Senator Kyl later questioned the accuracy of Renzi's description of his work in Kyl's office.[14]

[17] In 2006, Renzi said that he decided to enter politics because of his experiences as a member of National Association of Professional Insurance Agents. Renzi was a property/casualty agent and a member of PIA of Virginia & D.C. He said his first taste of the political process was attending a PIA Federal Legislative Summit. "I had a chance to interact with a lot of the congressmen and Senators, and I fell in love with it", Renzi said.[16]

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