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House ethics panel probes Renzi's conduct

Feb. 28, 2008 at 6:19 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The House Ethics Committee Thursday said it is investigating Rep. Rick Renzi, who was indicted for allegedly promising to support an Arizona land deal.

The Justice Department unsealed a 35-count indictment last week, charging Renzi with conspiracy, money laundering, extortion and insurance fraud. Renzi's attorneys said their client was not involved in any wrongdoing.

Renzi, a Republican, is accused of receiving $733,000 in an Arizona land deal, which he did not disclose to Congress as income in his 2005 financial disclosure statement. Prosecutors allege Renzi used his position as a member of Congress to ensure land owned by a business partner was included in a 2005 land and then tried to hide that income.

A statement from ethics committee Chairwoman Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, and its ranking member, Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said the investigative subcommittee convened to determine whether Renzi violated "the Code of Official Conduct or any law, rule, regulation or other standard of conduct applicable to his conduct in the performance of his duties or the discharge of his responsibilities."

Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, has urged Renzi to resign.

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