Among Clinton’s pardons:
“Howard Lawrence Mechanic was an undergraduate student at Washington University in St. Louis who went into hiding for 28 years after being accused of throwing a cherry bomb at the university’s ROTC building during a Vietnam War protest in May 1970.
Mechanic denied throwing the firecracker. No one was injured, but Mechanic was charged under the Civil Obedience Act of 1968 and sentenced to five years in prison. During his appeals, he fled and subsequently lived under the assumed name of Gary Robert Tredway in Scottsdale, Arizona.
His identity as Howard Mechanic became known when he decided to run for office on the Scottsdale City Council in 2000. He was discovered following an interview with reporter Penny Overton of the Scottsdale Tribune, who became suspicious after running a background check. Mechanic tried to dissuade Overton from publishing the story by falsely claiming that he had leukemia, but the newspaper published the story anyway. Mechanic turned himself in on February 10, 2000, and was immediately sent to prison to serve out his term. New charges were also filed against him of faking his identity and using a false name to acquire public documents including a driver’s license and a passport.
Mechanic received a pardon from President Bill Clinton in January 2001.”
He’s another unrepentant Bill Ayers:
“Howard Mechanic readily admits that running for public office was a risky proposition. He describes his nearly 30 years of communal activism and the resulting pressure from supporters to put his name on the ballot, as a runaway train.
“I felt that I would let my supporters down,” he says of the decision that opened his life to public scrutiny. “The people in the community felt it was important for me (to run.)”
Still he agonized over the decision, trying to find reasons to say “no.” Ultimately, he took the gamble and lost.
When Scottsdale Tribune reporter Terry Overton began asking about his past, he cracked.
“Life would have gone differently if I had not run,” he says now. “There’s no way to figure it out.”
Life also would have gone differently for the nice Jewish boy from Shaker Heights if he had not gotten involved in the anti-war movement, had not been at the demonstration at Wash U 30 years ago, and had not fled when convicted of a crime he says he did not commit.
But he says he feels no remorse.
“Everybody makes mistakes. There is no reason to be remorseful. They (the authorities) were trying to set an example. I was it.”
When asked what he would tell 19-year-old Ari, another Jewish boy whose future is bright, if faced with the same dilemma, the quiet man, who has been described as a gentle soul, doesn’t hesitate before answering.
“I’d never advise anyone to go through what I went through.”