Since when did corruption become a "routine exercise"?

Amazing as it will sound, Hillary Clinton has taken advantage of Bush's commutation of the Libby sentence to defend the Clinton pardon scandal:

As she campaigns with her husband for Iowa's leadoff precinct caucuses, Clinton has joined other Democrats in ripping Bush's decision. In the interview, she said it was ``one more example'' of the Bush administration thinking ``it is above the rule of law.''

Her husband's pardons, issued in the closing hours of his presidency, were simply routine exercise in the use of the pardon power, and none were aimed at protecting the Clinton presidency or legacy, she said.

``This particular action by the president is one more piece of evidence in their ongoing disregard for the rule of law that they think they don't have to answer to,'' she said.

I'm amazed that Hillary would say such a thing. I don't think she could possibly have been presented with a more perfect opportunity to keep her mouth shut than on the issue of pardons. Instead, she opened her mouth, and not only slammed Bush for what isn't a pardon at all, but called her husband's last minute pardon scandal (in which her brother figured prominently) a "routine exercise."

Is she joking? Or does she think that no one in the country has any memory at all?

Not to be a repetitive bore, but the last minute Clinton pardon scandal was anything but a routine exercise. Called "Pardongate" at the time, hearings were held, legislation was introduced, a Justice Department investigation was launched, and as recently as last summer, the Hugh Rodham pardon payment scandal was raising its ugly head again. Here's what Ed Morrissey said at the time:

The timeline seems especially damning in this case. Bill Clinton issues a pardon for the Gregorys in March 2000. Two months later, Anthony Rodham begins collecting checks from the company owned by the Gregorys. Over the next 20 months, Rodham gets 16 checks, all marked as loans as cover for the disbursements on United Show's books, until it totals $107,000. Rodham never makes a payment on these loans, and six months later, United Shows files for bankruptcy, leaving its creditors high and dry -- but not Rodham.

We have often excoriated public officials of both parties for receiving money from lobbyists and contributors concurrently with pushing legislation on their behalf. This is much worse than that. The President overruled his Department of Justice and provided presidential pardons for two people who robbed banks and their depositors through fraud, and two months later the same two people started sending money to the President's brother-in-law, laundered through their company as "loans" without ever seeking repayment.

By any definition, that is a quid pro quo payoff. Clinton had no pressing reason to issue the pardon except to make it easier for the Gregorys to win government contracts. The DoJ did not want them pardoned, and the pair were already out of prison. One can ask for no clearer indication that the Clinton administration had a fire sale on presidential pardons, and made sure that the money stayed in the family.

Hillary Clinton needs to answer for this. It involves her brother and her husband, and the family business in presidential pardons can be expected to have a grand re-opening if Hillary wins the presidential election in 2008. George Bush cannot allow this obvious corruption to go uninvestigated, and if the facts bear it out, Bill Clinton and Anthony Rodham should face prosecution for corruption.

A routine exercise?


If Hillary's brother taking money for last minute pardons was routine, I'd love to know what Hillary might consider unusual!

Oh, and Clinton's own pardon attorney Margaret Colgate Love (in a long essay on the irregular nature of the pardons) stated that the they "not only resulted in embarrassing grants, they also left the process by which the pardon power has historically been administered in disrepute."

Never mind that. The important thing to remember is that a scandal which left the pardon process in disrepute has now become a routine exercise.

(Pardon me for pointing this out, but I think the routine exercise has left Hillary with a few too many calluses.)

UPDATE (07/04/07): Today's Examiner has more on the Clinton pardons and the double standard:

Pelosi had a much different understanding of fairness, justice and the importance of upholding the law back in 1999, when Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 imprisoned members of the Puerto Rican terrorist group FALN. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a resolution of disapproval, but Pelosi said she would have voted no had she been present for the tally. Pelosi was thus defending Clinton's commutations of sentences received for seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to make bombs, bank robbery and illegal possession of stolen firearms, among other things. Between 1974 and 1983, FALN mounted numerous attacks against this nation's police and military, killing six people and maiming many others.

Then there is Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who saw in Bush's Libby commutation "a clear signal that in this administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice." Clinton touts her years as first lady among her qualifications for being president, but she has never publicly repudiated either her husband's FALN commutations or his pardons of Susan McDougall, convicted of mail fraud, and Marc Rich, the stock speculator convicted of tax evasion. McDougall was a former Clinton business partner, and Rich was the former husband of Denise Rich, a major Clinton fundraiser, both of whom clearly qualify as Clinton cronies.

Pelosi and Sen. Clinton would be vastly more credible on this issue had they simply said they believe the president was wrong and that Libby should be in the slammer, rather than using him to score cheap political points against Bush.

I couldn't agree more, and I think it's also fair to ask whether pardoning terrorists is also a "routine exercise."

posted by Eric on 07.03.07 at 04:46 PM


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