Pardoning the Clintons

I thought for a moment yesterday that I had been in the sun too long enjoying the Fourth of July festivities when I heard the former president's and Sen. Clinton’s comments surrounding President Bush’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s sentence. In case you missed the exchange, former President Clinton offered the following during a radio interview earlier in the week comparing the 140 pardons he issued on his last day in office to President Bush’s commutation of Libby:

"I think there are guidelines for what happens when somebody is convicted," Clinton told a radio interviewer Tuesday. "You've got to understand, this is consistent with their philosophy; they believe that they should be able to do what they want to do, and that the law is a minor obstacle." 
Excuse me? “They believe they should be able to do what they want to do, and that the law is a minor obstacle?” Excellent point, President Clinton, but that sounds exactly like what you did in the waning hours of your administration as you dispensed pardons every which way on your way out the door. The law being a minor obstacle for President Bush? Let’s briefly recap a few people who deserved Clinton’s leniency in his final hours in office:

Bernice Ruth Altscul: conspiracy to commit money laundering;
Nicholas Altiere: importation of cocaine;
Thomas Barber: Issuing worthless checks;
First brother Roger Clinton: conspiracy to distribute cocaine and distribution of cocaine;
Susan MacDougal (she of Whitewater fame): Mail fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1341; aiding and abetting in misapplication of Small Business Investment Corporation funds, 18 U.S.C. §§ 657 and 2; aiding and abetting in making false entries, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1006 and 2; aiding and abetting in making false statements, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1014 and 2;

And last but not least, Marc Rich: Wire fraud, mail fraud, racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, criminal forfeiture, income tax evasion, and trading with Iran in violation of trade embargo.

If you haven’t done so, I encourage you to look at the list of all the pardons President Clinton issued on his last day in office: http://www.usdoj.gov/pardon/clintonpardon_grants.htm

Here you’ll see a wide variety of people who received presidential leniency due to their close ties to the Clinton administration. Oh, wait, isn’t that what Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) said this week about President Bush?

"This commutation sends the clear signal that in this administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice.” Those words were spoken by Sen. Clinton regarding President Bush’s use of the pardon/commutation power, not her husband’s. Rich.

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