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July 3, 2007
NYT editorial on Libby commutation: this is Rich
This is rich: The NYT's editorial board attacks Bush for the "baldly poltical act" of commuting Libby's prison sentence. Down the memory hole we go!
The papers' lead editorial -- no surprise -- was about the commutation of the Libby sentence as "Soft on Crime." Aside from the fact that the New York Times is consistently soft on crime (arguing for more lenient sentencing policies, enhanced rights for criminal defendants, restoration of voting rights for felons, etc.), there is this stunner in the editorial regarding the pressure President Bsuh faced from members in his own party to offer clemency to Libby
But none of it was justification for the baldly political act of commuting his sentence.
Hmmm...how about mentioning President Clinton's pardons that he issued before leaving office-these were certainly more baldly political:
A vast majority of those who received the last minute pardons are unknown to the public, although the list does include former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros, Whitewater scandal figure Susan McDougal, Patty Hearst and former CIA Director John Deutch.
News of McDougal's pardon came just one day after the president struck a deal with Independent Counsel Robert Ray effectively ending the Whitewater investigation. In that agreement, Clinton agreed to a five-year suspension of his law license and acknowledged that he gave false testimony under oath in the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
McDougal protected President Clinton by refusing to cooperate in the Whitewater investigation; Cisneros was a politcal ally of the President and was powerful in the politcally potent Hispanic community.
Furthermore, Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of FALN, a violent Puerto Rican nationalist group that set off 120 bombs in the United States that helped Hillary Clitnon when she was running for the Senate in New York (which has alarge Puerto Rican community)
On August 11, 1999, Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of FALN, a violent Puerto Rican nationalist group that set off 120 bombs in the United States mostly in New York City and Chicago, convicted for conspiracies to commit robbery, bomb-making, and sedition, as well as for firearms and explosives violations. None of the 16 were convicted of bombings or any crime which injured another person, though they were sentenced with terms ranging from 35 to 105 years in prison for the conviction of conspiracy and sedition. Congress, however, recognizes that the FALN is responsible for "6 deaths and the permanent maiming of dozens of others, including law enforcement officials." All of the 16 had served 19 years or longer in prison, which was a longer sentence than such crimes typically received, according to the White House. Clinton offered clemency, on condition that the prisoners renounce violence, at the appeal of 10 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, President Jimmy Carter, the cardinal of New York, and the archbishop of Puerto Rico. The commutation was opposed by U.S. Attorney's Office, the FBI, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons and criticized by many including former victims of FALN terrorist activities, the Fraternal Order of Police, members of Congress, and Hillary Clinton in her campaign for Senator. Congress condemned the action, with a vote of 95-2 in the Senate and 311-41 in the House. The U.S. House Committee on Government Reform held an investigation on the matter, but the Justice Department prevented FBI officials from testifying. President Clinton cited executive privilege for his refusal to turn over some documents to Congress related to his decision to offer clemency to members of the FALN terrorist group. There was the pardon of Marc Rich: Via Wikipedia: Marc Rich, a fugitive, was pardoned of tax evasion. Denise Rich, Marc's former wife, was a close friend of the Clintons and had made substantial donations to both Clinton's library and Hillary's Senate campaign. Clinton agreed to a pardon that required Marc Rich to pay a $100,000,000 fine before he could return to the United States. According to Paul Volcker's independent investigation of Iraqi Oil-for-Food kickback schemes, Marc Rich was a middleman for several suspect Iraqi oil deals involving over 4 million barrels of oil.
Then there was the pardon of other Democratic politicians: