Category Archives: Renzigate

SCOTUS to hear Trump’s Muslim travel ban appeal; ban to partially go into effect

The U.S. Supreme Court gave the Trump administration the go-ahead Monday to begin enforcing part of the president’s executive order restricting travel from six predominately Muslim countries.

Trump, in a statement called the court’s action “a clear victory for our national security.”

“Today’s ruling allows me to use an important tool for protecting our Nation’s homeland,” Trump said in the statement. “I am also particularly gratified that the Supreme Court’s decision was 9-0.”

This is not at all true. This is “alternative facts” in Trump World’s alternative reality, in which Dear Leader must always be winning.

While the full Court said it would hear the case in the fall, six of the justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, kept part of the injunction from lower courts in place while allowing only part of the 90-day halt on new visas from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen to go into effect.

The Court asked the parties to brief the issue whether this case is moot as of June 14, the expiration of the original executive order. And because this case will not be heard until October and likely decided sometime later, the Court has set up this case to be dismissed as moot, so that it can avoid rendering a decision on the merits this fall.

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GOP education policies in Arizona are a failure

Earlier this week, the Arizona Republic reported that Arizona’s classroom spending at its lowest since 2001:

education_appleDistricts last school year spent the lowest percentage of their operating dollars on classroom instruction since at least 2001, when the state began monitoring the figure, according to a state report released Tuesday.

Classroom spending is a popularly cited funding figure that includes a school’s expenditures for salaries and benefits for teachers and instructional aides as well as classroom supplies.

The report said the low spending percentages have contributed to a lower state teacher salary average and larger classroom sizes.

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2015 was a big year for the GOP culture of corruption in Arizona

The GOP culture of corruption in Arizona has produced a number of threads this year that are coming together at the end of the year. Other shoes are about to drop early in 2016 — lookin’ at you crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio.

Disgraced former congressman Rick Renzi has now exhausted all of his appeals and is finally serving time in prison after years of litigation. Ex-Arizona congressman Rick Renzi denied new trial:

MorgantownA federal judge on Wednesday denied a new trial for former U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi, who was convicted in 2013 of corruption, money laundering and other charges and is serving a three-year prison term.

* * *

Renzi was convicted in 2013 of corruption, money laundering and other charges. An appeals court upheld the convictions last year, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal in June.

Renzi began serving his sentence at the federal prison in Morgantown, West Virginia, in February. Best Places To Go To Prison – Forbes.

The top political corruption story in Arizona in 2015 has been the melodrama playing out at the Arizona Corporation Commission.

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Rick Renzi: From the US House to the Big House

By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings

 

It was a long and winding road, but the destination is in sight now…

From the Phoenix New Times, written by Ray Stern –

Former Arizona U.S. Congressman Rick Renzi was sentenced today to three
years in prison following his June conviction on fraud and corruption
charges.

The sentence was a long time coming in this classic case of
congressional corruption, but Renzi, a Republican, will finally be doing
some hard time. New Times was the first to expose Renzi's disgusting dealings in a 2006 article that preceded his 2008 indictment.


Arizona U.S. District Judge David C. Bury sentenced Renzi in a Tucson
courtroom Monday, October 28. Renzi's buddy, real-estate investor James
Sandlin, also found out today he'll be serving 18 months in the Big
House himself.

While there may be a few
political luminaries in Arizona who are as deserving of prison as Renzi,
I can't think of any who are *more* deserving.

Anyway,
in a just world, he would do his time in the federal correctional
institution in Safford, AZ – so far as I can tell, it's the only federal
corrections facility located in Renzi's former Congressional district.

In 2008, in preparation for this day, I published a post with the contact information for FCI-Safford; the information still seems to be current.

Now, maybe I'm being a little cynical here, but I don't truly expect him to serve his time in AZ, especially since his current residence is in Fairfax County, VA, just outside of D.C.

However, there's actually a dearth of federal correctional facilities in the D.C. area (Bureau of Prisons map here). 

The closest facilities seem to be more than 120 miles away (SW VA, metro Richmond, VA, Cumberland, MD).

So that means the USBOP will probably get a little flexibility on where they house Renzi.

While Renzi has a bit of violence
in his history, his history, and the charges he was convicted of,
probably don't merit incarceration in places like Leavenworth (KS),
Marion (IL), Atlanta (GA) or the Supermax facility in Florence (CO),
places that house the most hardened prisoners in the federal prison
system.

So what would be the most appropriate place to
keep Renzi, someone who is used to being in the middle of luxury, in the
middle of "the action", in the middle of *everything*?

Well, while there are some isolated outposts in the federal corrections system, I'd like to nominate FCI-Berlin (NH).

Berlin, NH, is a town located along the Androscoggin River in the White Mountains.

It is a beautiful area.

It is a storied area.

It is an "ass end of nowhere" area.

 

In other words, a perfect choice for the people looking for a place for Renzi to roost for three years.

 

Rick Renzi sentenced to three years for corruption

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The wheels of justice turn slowly, but they turn. Former Arizona U.S. Rep. Renzi gets 3-year prison term:

Former U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi, convicted in June on 17 counts of
extortion, racketeering and other federal charges, was sentenced to
three years in prison this morning at the U.S. District Court in Tucson.
The 55-year-old Republican served in Arizona’s 1st
Congressional District from 2003 until 2008, when he chose not to seek
re-election while under indictment.

* * *

Renzi, who is expected to appeal, was allowed to remain
free following the hearing, but was ordered to report to the Federal
Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his time on Jan. 6.

Renzi’s sentencing caps criminal proceedings that dragged
on for more than five years. In June, after a 24-day trial, he was found
guilty on two sets of charges. In one scheme, prosecutors said, he
embezzled client funds from his southern Arizona insurance brokerage,
funneled the money into his first election campaign and sought to cover
up the crime.

In the second conspiracy, Renzi allegedly committed
extortion while trying to orchestrate a swap of U.S. government land for
an alfalfa farm near Sierra Vista that belonged to a business partner
who owed him money. A deal ultimately was consummated and Renzi paid
$733,000 to relieve a debt from his associate, James Sandlin, who also
was convicted.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino said after Monday morning’s
hearing that the outcome verifies that, no matter how long it takes,
“justice will be served.”

More details at the link. Michael Bryan used to cover "Renzigate," so I will let him provide a commentary.

Renzi’s Co-Defendant Sandlin Convicted of Lying

Renzi’s sugar daddy in his kick-backs-for-legislation scheme, James Sandlin, has been convicted of lying on financial statements to a federally insured financial institution in Texas. The charges are not related to those for which Renzi is indicted. Nevertheless, it can’t be good news for Renzi’s defense that he is now facing felony charges in association with a convicted felon.

"The U.S.
Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Texas said Wednesday that
James Sandlin failed to disclose a nearly $1 million debt obligation in
personal financial statements that he gave to a bank in Sherman, Texas."

Just another day’s business for Sandlin and his associates.