WASHINGTON - Three-term Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., who is facing a federal inquiry into his family’s insurance business, said Thursday he will not seek re-election next year.
Renzi becomes the fifth GOP House member in the past month to announce retirement plans, giving Democrats hopes of possibly picking up seats next year that otherwise would not be in play.
However, leaders of both parties viewed Renzi as seriously damaged politically by the allegations against him, and several Republicans had let it be known they hoped he would step down.
“I will not be seeking reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008,” Renzi said in a brief statement.
Renzi, 49, gave up his House Intelligence Committee seat in April after FBI agents raided a Sonoita business owned by his wife, Roberta.
Law enforcement officials confirmed in October that they were scrutinizing a land swap that netted Renzi’s former business partner, friend and campaign donor $4.5 million.
Renzi paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes while settling charges that his businesses improperly paid for his first congressional campaign.
He also became embroiled in the congressional investigation into the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, including Paul Charlton of Arizona, after his chief of staff in April acknowledged calling Charlton’s office to ask about the media reports related to the land deal.
The 1st Congressional District includes the communities of Flagstaff, Prescott, Sedona and Casa Grande as well as large swaths of northern and eastern Arizona.