The House ethics committee has decided to open their own investigation into allegations of embezzlement and extortion against Dick using a 4-member, bipartisan sub-committee. The panel does not have the power to require Renzi's expulsion from the House, although they can recommend this action and the House could unseat Renzi with a 2/3rds vote • "House to investigation Renzi"
Folks are rightly skeptical about the panel actually doing anything, due to the rules of the Committee that state, "The Committee may defer action on a complaint against a Member, officer, or employee of the House of Representatives when the complaint alleges conduct that the Committee has reason to believe is being reviewed by appropriate law enforcement or regulatory authorities, or when the Committee determines that is appropriate for the conduct alleged in the complaint to be reviewed initially by law enforcement or regulatory authorities." Of course the key word is 'may' - but since when has Congress liked mucking out its own outhouse?
The East Valley Tribune editorializes that Dick should go, noting "The timing of Renzi’s resignation has important implications for his district because if he doesn’t leave until after May 4, a large swath of Arizona voters would be in for no representation at all" • "Time for Renzi to Step Down"
Dick's intransigence is highlighting the parties' approaches to ethics issues: The Republicans are taking a new, harder line with ethically and legally compromised members but Democrats seem content to allow Dick to hang around, knowing that his stink will further cement the public impression that gives Dems a 2:1 margin over the GOP on ethical behavior • "Boehner's New Approach to Troublemakers"
Baja Arizona's own Tedski places the blame or Dick's continuing role in Arizona's political life squarely on our 4th estate and established political elites, who should have seen the writing on the wall • "Rick Renzi and the Failure of the Establishment"
My Take: I suppose that like the DCCC, who chose stop short of calling for Dick's resignation, I should be glad to see Dick hang around smelling up the GOP caucus. But I'm not. Political advantage is not enough motive to see a lying, thieving, scum bucket like Dick continue to besmirch our government with his membership in it. So, in the clearly vain hope that Dick, or anyone else for that matter, could give a good goddamn about my opinion, here it is:
Richard Renzi should resign his office immediately. Primarily, this will allow the constituents of CD 1 to benefit of a Representative not laboring under a cloud of suspicion and scorn, deserved or not. Secondarily, the nature of the charges, be they mistaken or not, go directly to the legitimacy of his membership in Congress (he is alleged to have embezzled the money that originally put him there), and his ethical fitness to exercise governmental authority (he is alleged to have used that power for personal gain rather than public purposes). These are not allegations aimed at purely private ethical behavior, which could arguably be nobody's business but his own and his family's, but they undermine the very foundation of his claim to the legitimate exercise of governmental authority on behalf of the Americans he represents. The charges indicate that he betrayed their trust - our trust. For him to remain in office, having an impact on the course of public policy with his vote, is intolerable. Were the weight of the evidence not so heavy, the lack of any political agenda behind these charges not so nakedly evident, he might continue to have some modicum of legitimacy in his office, but the only honorable course open to Richard Renzi now is to step down.
My dirty secret hope, of course, is that he doesn't. My hope is that he stays in office and fights beyond any rational hope of succeeding. That he stays in office as he is arrested, arraigned, and admitted to bail. That the pre-trial maneuverings of his attorneys and the USA for Arizona become daily headline news here in Arizona, and get frequent play around the country. That Dick maintains his innocence, refuses any plea bargains, and goes to trial as a GOP member of Congress. That he sits at the Defendant's table every day as the scandalous trial of Tricky Dick Renzi becomes a national obsession, a celebrity trial with full-time correspondents on every news network. If that happens, not only am I available as a consultant, but I'm happy as a pig in shit as I get to watch the reputation of the GOP tied every tighter to a man with the character of Arizona's own Tricky Dick.