Chris Smith says that he wants to run on his record in Congress. Unfortunately, there are parts of his record that voters may find less than appealing.
Chris Smith donated $2,000 to the reelection campaign of corrupt Congressman Rick Renzi. He made the contribution on May 16, 2007, nearly a month after the FBI raided the Renzi family insurance business for additional evidence. (Chris Smith, July Quarterly Disbursement Report)
On April 19, 2007 the FBI raided the Renzi office as part of well known investigation into Renzi’s role in a government land-swap. Renzi used his government position to influence the deal, collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in payoffs.
Chris Smith cannot claim ignorance. Renzi’s corruption was very public and forced him to resign from the House Intelligence Committee. The scandal generated national attention because Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez had previously fired the federal prosecutor who opened the investigation in 2006. Renzi has since been indicted on 35 counts of corruption. (Phoenix Business Journal, April 20, 2007 Washington Post, Feb 23, 2008)
Why did Chris Smith feel it was important to give cash to an obviously corrupt Congressman? No other Member of Congress made such a show of solidarity. We know Smith went out of his way to show his support, because Renzi was the only campaign to receive a contribution from Smith during the reporting period.
“Chris Smith has the wrong priorities. Instead of focusing on high gas prices and our struggling economy, Chris Smith decided to spend time making a political contribution to a Congressman facing federal indictment on corruption charges.” said Josh Zeitz Campaign Manager Steve D’Amico.