Skip to comments.Recalling the politics of the Clinton pardons
Posted on 07/09/2007 5:45:37 AM PDT by Caleb1411
One of the weaknesses of Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign is that imagining her in the Oval Office brings to mind the scandals that marked her husband's time as president. Especially now, when she is trotting old Bubba out to rev up the faithful, the sordid past undermines her and boosts Barack Obama's promise for a different kind of politics.
The list of investigations, allegations and a few convictions during the Clinton administration was so long and tangled that the cases now morph into a fog. Distinctions among Travelgate and Whitewater and FileGate and GiftGate and the $100,000 commodities windfall get lost, with only Monica and the stained blue dress forever vivid.
Now and then, that fog is pierced by something that reminds us what a grubby time it was. The case of Lewis "Scooter" Libby does that.
When President Bush commuted Libby's prison sentence Monday, Sen. Clinton was quick to denounce him. Under Bush, she said, "cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice."
She's right in general, though the arguments on Bush's behalf this time are considerable. But when I stumbled on a list of Bill Clinton's pardons posted on the Drudge Report, I was instantly back on Jan. 20, 2001. That's when Clinton, in his final hours as president, opened the floodgates, issuing 140 pardons and 36 commutations.
The list of people Clinton let off the hook was a rogue's gallery of drug dealers, petty criminals and the politically well connected. One was Bill Clinton's brother Roger, one was a college friend and another was a former business partner. Their lawyers' connections were key in others, including the lawyer for a man who laundered more than $100 million for the Cali cartel. Some cases reeked of blatant corruption. Hillary's brother, Hugh Rodham, collected $400,000 from two big-time criminals who got pardons. When the news of the payments broke, the Clintons claimed surprise and demanded Rodham give the money back.
But Bill Clinton never gave Denise Rich her money back. The former wife of disgraced financier Marc Rich gave $450,000 to Clinton's presidential library and raised and contributed more than $1 million to campaigns of the Clintons and other Democrats. Her husband, who had fled the country rather than fight charges of massive tax fraud and trading with Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis, suddenly received a pardon. "Utterly false," Bill Clinton later said about charges he sold the pardon. "There was absolutely no quid pro quo."
Among those he cited who supported the pardon was Scooter Libby, a lawyer for Marc Rich.
Denise Rich, asked on TV whether she "bought" access to the Clintons, said, "Oh yes, that's true, of course." A grand jury looked at it, but no charges were brought.
Another Clinton pardon that drew a grand jury probe involved four Hasidic men from suburban New York. They had cheated the government out of tens of millions in anti-poverty programs and received prison sentences of up to 6½ years. They, too, got a get-out-of-jail card, though it was not necessarily free.
As New York Daily News reporters later proved, leaders of the sect the men belonged to hoped that by supporting Hillary's 2000 Senate campaign, they would be rewarded with a pardon.
"They thought if they unilaterally showed support for Hillary, maybe they would get a pardon," their lawyer told the News.
And that's just what happened. On the advice of the group's rabbi, the community voted for Clinton over Republican Rick Lazio by 1,400-to-12. A month later, that rabbi had a White House meeting with Bill and Hillary Clinton and pleaded for the pardon. He got it. Again, a grand jury came up empty.
Clinton said this week that her husband didn't play politics with pardons, but that Bush has with Libby. Depends on how you define politics.
All kinds of victims, willing fools and shady accomplices...
Sorry for the bandwidth, but these days everyone is on broadband... or they have images shut off when they come her. :-)
Hillary Clinton would sell her soul to the Devil in Hell to become POTUS.
Okay, I been thinking about this.
Here’s how I think it came down.....
Bush pardons Libby and like the vultures they are, and as was part of the plan, the perpetrators of this joke of a trial wanted to pounce on Bush with an abundance of the Bush Derangement Syndrome we know they all have.
Only one problem. Nobody abused the presidential pardon power like Willie the J who is still searching for the meaning of the word “is”.
So Biden or Schumer or some other Democrat involved with the architecture of the bogus Fitzgerald investigation warns the Clintons that nobody can bash Bush over the Libby pardon until somebody comes out and mentions the Clinton pardons. For those pardons hang in the air like the sword of Democoles, excuse the spelling.
So Schumer calls up Bill, still researching that “is” thing across the planet, and tells him that he and the wife will have to be the first out of the gate with criticizing of Bush and his pardon.
I’m just not convinced the wise Clintons would commit such a political gaffe although some argue they are using a good offense thing. But no.....I don’t buy that. The Clintons would rather put those pardons far behind them because of a)Hillary’s campaign and b)that’s the reason they gave them out by the gross on the day the man left the oval office...so it could be shouted about and forgotten. I’m sure they didn’t want to have to discuss it all again. And for sure, what with Bloggers and talk radio, the Clintons had to know their condemnation on the Libby pardon would wake up that which they’d rather leave dead.
I really think this is going to backfire on the Clintons although, like I said I could be wrong about how it came down. But it’s a long, hot summer. Everybody’s waiting for Fred to do something. There’s a big huge void all waiting to be filled by renewed commentary on those Clinton pardons. And now, what with Hillary running, perhaps a few who missed the massive pardons-for-all earlier will get a renewal of how it all came down.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Yesterday the Dems were on the talk shows having a grand old time lambasting Bush.
I say keep it up. The more light shining on the Clintons, the better.
What say you?
Hillary's denunciation is what baffles me. Obviously she realizes she's working with a sycophant press and a public (at least her public) whose memory equals the life span of an adult Mayfly, but surely the FReepers, the Limbaughs and Hannitys, and Republican Congressmen with guts can broadcast some very invidious comparisons between Bill's pardons and Bush's pardons.
i believe that she already has...
Wellllll.....my logic explains your bafflement.
I’m betting that when the talking points went out for all Dems to get out and blast Bush for the Libby pardon....hey, they had to know Bush wasn’t going to let Libby go to prison and indeed they should be ashamed of jailing this innocent man who has children....that all the Dems complained because they KNEW the public would beat them up over the Clinton pardons.
It’s why I’m convinced they did it because even though Willie the J hasn’t found the meaning of the word “is”, he surely knows his pardons were dynamite.
I say keep the talk going. Rush has been talking about it but he expresses a weariness and I understand. The Clintons get old real fast.
I’m going to keep Blogging about the Clinton pardons and hey, my Blog is read by two to three people every other day.
So far the American public doesn’t seem ready to lynch Bush for this pardon of an obscure administration official and while, when asked, the public will say that the Bush pardon wasn’t right, no one out here in la-la land is spending their evenings discussing Libby’s pardon.
The Clinton pardons are a whole nother thing.
Again, it’s my story and I’m sticking to it.