Renzi denounces ‘false attacks’ over land deal

/ Source: The Associated Press

U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi said Friday that he does not plan to resign amid a federal investigation into a multimillion dollar land deal that benefited his associate and campaign donor.

Law enforcement officials are scrutinizing a 2005 land deal that netted Renzi’s former business partner, James Sandlin, $4.5 million.

According to state records and officials involved in the deal, Renzi helped promote the sale. Sandlin also donated to Renzi’s campaign. Last week, the FBI raided the insurance business owned by Renzi’s wife, Roberta.

“For several weeks, I have been the subject of leaked stories, conjecture, and false attacks about a land exchange,” Renzi, a Republican, said in a brief statement. “None of them bear any resemblance to the truth, including the rumor that I am planning on resigning.”

On the day of the raid, Renzi temporarily stepped down from the House Intelligence Committee, which has some oversight authority over the FBI. Tuesday, he took a leave of absence from the House Financial Services and Natural Resources committees.

He also withdrew from a House Republican fundraising campaign, which raises money for incumbents in vulnerable seats.

Amid that, state Republican party officials have publicly expressed a measure of support for Renzi even as names of potential Republican and Democratic candidates for Renzi’s seat are circulating.

The 1st District includes the communities of Flagstaff, Prescott, Window Rock, Sedona and Casa Grande as well as large swaths of rural northern and eastern Arizona.