The Tucson Citizen notes that Dick can still draw a pension, even if convicted, because his crimes were committed prior to passage of the most recent Democratic ethics reform bill. If he had any shame... it's impossible finish that thought, as he so clearly doesn't.
As Dick hangs on to his seat, it seems that it can only be purely for his own interests, not those of his constituents, unless it is in their interest to be represented by the least influential member of the House according to a power ranking by Congress.org. Considering he's been stripped of all committee assignments, has no leadership position, little or no influence with his peers or notable topical expertise, sponsors little legislation (he's run only 7 bills in the 110th, all minor), his website looks like a nuke went off in his offices mid-January and tumbleweeds are now blowing through it, no doubt he can't freely communicate with his constituents on advice of counsel, and he is now welcomed into the company of his peers with the kind of enthusiasm they generally reserve for a text message from an under-age page, his ranking at the bottom of the heap is quite understandable. I can't hold back my inner Barry Goldwater any longer: "For gods' sake, Dick, give it up. You are only further humiliating yourself and your party!" Of course, my inner FDR is grinning enigmatically and plotting a legislative agenda for the next 40 years of Democratic control of the House.
Dick's co-defendant, James Sandlin, plead 'Not Guilty' to the 27 counts he is charged with in the 35 count indictment. He was released without bond.
Renzi has brought Francis J. Burke, partner at Steptoe & Johnson, onto his defense team. This is the firm that represented senior management at Enron, Tyco, and WorldCom in criminal matters. Burke is no flashy mouth-piece, he's a hard-core litigator focused on white collar criminal defense and is considered one of the very best in the field. He's got deep experience at both prosecution (he's a former Assistant U.S. Attorney) and defense of money-laundering and mail and wire fraud. He's exactly the guy I would want in charge of my litigation team if I were going to the mat on a 35 count indictment with 26,000 man hours of FBI investigation behind it.
The Phoenix New Times focuses on the sick irony of who Renzi screwed over when he embezzled $400K from his insurance company - non-profits working on abortion issues, pregnancy clinics, Boys & Girls Club, among others. Those doing vital social work, often on causes Dick pretended to champion, were left without insurance coverage and the false belief they were protected because of Dick's theft and his attempts to cover it up.
The New Times also drilled down a bit on those who were involved in the investment group, coordinated by Policy Development Group, that ultimately acquired the land for Resolution, and almost assuredly blew the whistle on Dick's shake-down, and finds Ron Ober, brother-in-law of Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon and former aide to Dennis DeConcini during the Keating Five scandal. Ober was connected to Keating through business transactions totaling $80 million while his boss was leaning on regulators to allow Keating to continue his control fraud that burned a multi-centi-million dollar hole in the taxpayers' pockets. It should be recalled that John McCain was also one of the Keating Five and got religion on ethics and campaign finance reform soon after nearly flaming out in the scandal.
John McCain and Jon Kyl had also been carrying Resolution Copper's water for several years in their quest for a land swap that would allow them to open their mine. The tribes that would suffer the environmental impacts from the mine have been all over McCain for his support of the land swap. How much was McCain aware of the details of the land swap? Was he made aware of Renzi's undisclosed personal interest in Sandlin's affairs by Resolution or by Ober and his investment group? Did he voice support for the embattled Renzi and invite him into his campaign even knowing about Renzi's improper arrangement with Sandlin? Could sleaze from Renzi's trial seep into McCain's Presidential campaign? These and many other questions must surely be answered before RenziGate plays out.