House Ethics Committee Suspends Probe of Rep. Renzi

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The House Ethics Committee has suspended its inquiry into bribery allegations against Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Arizona, to allow the Justice Department to carry out its criminal investigation.

The Ethics Committee started its investigation after Renzi was hit with a sweeping, 34-count indictment alleging the congressman orchestrated and took bribes in an Arizona land deal.

The committee decided to suspend its inquiry after the Justice Department "expressed concern" that such an investigation "might create legal or factual issues that would complicate or impede the criminal prosecution" related to Renzi.

The committee says it recognizes that the allegations involving Renzi "are of a very serious nature and must be addressed by the House of Representatives acting under its rules and precedents." However, the committee concluded that moving ahead "would risk interfering" with the prosecution.

The committee says it will continue to monitor the Renzi matter.

Renzi is slated for trial later this year. He will not stand for reelection this fall.