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Joseph A. Palermo

Joseph A. Palermo

Posted: February 25, 2008 11:10 AM

John McCain and the Rick Renzi 35-Count Indictment


In 2006, Senator John McCain campaigned heartily for his fellow Arizona Republican Rick Renzi's reelection to his third term in the House of Representatives. At campaign rallies and fundraisers McCain said that Representative Renzi was an important part of the Republican Congressional delegation from Arizona and he praised Mr. Renzi's "honesty and integrity." McCain was so impressed by Mr. Renzi's virtuousness that he recruited him to serve as the co-chair of his presidential campaign in his home state.

With the recent stories about McCain using the Commerce Committee to serve the financial interests of his corporate benefactors, wouldn't it be wise for McCain to put on the GOP ticket for 2008 a man known for his "honesty and integrity?" If Sean Hannity and other choir boys in the Right's Greek Chorus are correct in their assertion that the news of McCain's past impropriety in the Senate is nothing more than a "liberal" newspaper smearing an honest politician, then I hope they stand up also for McCain's old friend and ally: the Honorable Rick Renzi.

The outrages of The New York Times continued this past weekend when the paper ran a story reporting that a federal grand jury indicted Congressmember Renzi on 35 counts of corruption, fraud, money laundering, extortion and other crimes. Surely, this is yet another "hit and run smear" attack by the Times. Any man that John McCain vouches for and says is "honest" and has "integrity" must be beyond reproach.

Renzi's lawyers released a statement that their client, like John McCain, "did nothing wrong" and vowed to "fight these charges until he is vindicated and his family name restored." They added that the indictment was politically motivated to tarnish an innocent man's public image in an election year. I hope they call John McCain as a character witness to testify in federal court on Renzi's behalf. That act alone should put to rest any baseless charges.

I also hope Hannity and other thoughtful right-wingers take on this gross injustice that Rick Renzi has faced from "liberal" federal prosecutors and "liberal" members of a federal grand jury as well as the "liberal" press. What better way to vindicate Renzi in his courageous stand against the "liberals" who will stop at nothing to smear innocent Republicans who are merely trying to serve the country they love than to call on John McCain to put Rick Renzi on the Republican ticket for 2008? Call your local right-wing radio host today and demand that McCain ask Rick Renzi to be his running mate.

McCain-Renzi '08!