Before leaving office in January of 2001, President Clinton took time to issue Presidential Pardons to 140 people. Information gathered from a U.S. Department of Justicewebsite appears to show connections to Clinton’s contributors. By comparison, the first President Bush issued 129 Presidential Pardons. President Reagan also pardoned many people. Pardons Reagan granted include a notable pardon of long-time New York Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner.
It may be a case of old news becoming new news again. According to the U.S. Department of Justice website, President Clinton’s pardons included pardons to family relatives, embezzlers, mail thieves and contributors’ relatives. Will Hillary Clinton’s campaign be challenged by questions about this?
Take, for example, the crimes of the first four people pardoned by President Clinton, listed in alphabetical order:
The first person is from Arkansas, the original home of the Clintons. Her name is Jean Allen and she was convicted of “False statements to an agency of the United States.”
Nicholas Altiere is second on the pardon list. He was convicted of “Importation of Cocaine.”
Bernice Altschul was pardoned by President Clinton after being convicted of “Conspiracy to commit money laundering.”
Joe Anderson was pardoned after a conviction for “income tax evasion.”
Notably on the list of Presidential Pardons is Hillary Clinton’s Brother-in-law Roger Clinton. Also on the pardon list is Henry Cisneros who served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Clinton. Neither has a listing of a conviction but only of a Pardon.
Roger Clinton, Senator Clinton’s Brother-in-law, was also investigated regarding pardons. A 2001 article published in Newsweek noted: “The inquiry was dropped after Justice Lawyers spotted a legal problem. Since Roger Clinton wasn’t a federal official, it was not a crime to seek money to deliver action by the government. Roger Clinton may only have been pursuing that most common of Washington trades: lobbyist.”
An article was published in 2001 by Inside NYTimes.com entitled “The Clinton Pardons: The Brothers; Siblings Who Often Emerge in an Unflattering Spotlight.” It dealt with Hillary’s brother Hugh Rodham’s involvement in pardons and included this: “For half a dozen former Clinton aides interviewed yesterday, word that Hugh Rodham had taken some $400,000 in fees to lobby for a presidential pardon and commutation, may have been the latest straw, but it was not particularly surprising.”
While having no crime listed, Marc Rich was pardoned by former President Clinton. Rich is listed in Switzerland, where he lived after having been indicted by recent presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani. At the time Rich was charged with “tax evasion and illegal trading with Iran,” Giuliani was the U.S. Attorney General.
A CNN article appearing in Inside Politics discussed a possible connection of the Marc Rich pardon to donations made by his wife. “Well-placed Democratic sources told CNN on Friday that Denise Rich, ex-wife of pardoned financier Marc Rich, gave $450,000 to the Bill Clinton Presidential Library foundation,” the article from CNN began.
Arkansas, original home of the Clintons, was a popular location for the Presidential Pardons given by Senator Clinton’s husband. A total of thirteen pardons were provided in Arkansas.
In Little Rock, a man was pardoned who had been convicted of “Odometer rollback.” In fact, three Presidential Pardons were issued by Clinton to people convicted of “Odometer rollback.”
Many people with drug convictions received Presidential Pardons from President Clinton, including twenty-two convicted of crimes involving either cocaine, marijuana or methamphetamine.
Senator Clinton’s husband also pardoned a large number of people involved in government crime who had been convicted of crimes like “Conspiracy to steal government property,” including a pardon to someone convicted of “Conspiracy to defraud the United States, and influencing or injuring an officer or juror generally.”
Several people who were convicted of stealing mail were pardoned by President Clinton, including one who committed “Theft of mail by a postal employee.”
Some people pardoned either counterfeited or conspired to counterfeit money, like the person given a Presidential Pardon and convicted of “Conspiracy to possess and utter counterfeit $20 Federal Reserve notes.” No explanation of the word “utter” is given on the U.S. Department of Justicewebsite.
Presidential Pardons were very common for people who made false statements, including false statements to a “United States Agency” and a “Bank.” Someone else was given a Presidential Pardon after making a false statement to the “Forest Service.”
One Presidential Pardon by Clinton included someone who was convicted of “Conspiracy to commit an offense against the U.S. in violation of the Lacey Act and the Airborne Hunting Act.” Another who was convicted of “Interstate transportation and sale of fish and wildlife” was issued a Presidential Pardon.
President Clinton even pardoned a former Republican Governor, Fife Symington, who had no conviction listed on the Justice Department Website. Only President Bush knows who he will give a Presidential Pardon to. One thing for certain is that there are more people who would like to have a Presidential Pardon, than those that will get a Presidential Pardon.
President Clinton’s Pardons 2001U.S. Department of Justice
Todd S. Purdum The Clinton Pardons: The Brothers; Siblings Who Often Emerge In an Unflattering Spotlight Inside NYTimes.com
Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman His Brother’s Keeper Newweek.com
Ted BarrettDems Say Denise Rich Helped Fund Clinton Library CNN.com