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March 7, 2008
Bill Clinton Nixes Release of Pardon Papers
File this one under "Least Surprising Move in the Middle of a Presidential Campaign."
Federal archivists at the Clinton Presidential Library are blocking the release of hundreds of pages of White House papers on pardons that the former president approved, including clemency for fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich. What we've discovered is "how he decided which pardons to approve from among hundreds of requests..." was a simple matter of who would contribute to the construction of his library. The above mentioned Mr. Rich passed along a cool $400,000 through his wife to build the grotesquery sitting in Little Rock. This was before the pardon, of course which to some of us might seem suspiciously like a payoff or even a bribe but somehow, the incident was forgotten in all that last minute rush before leaving. Packing up the silverware and china took most of the focus off small matters such as bribery.
That archivists' decision, based on guidance provided by Bill Clinton that restricts the disclosure of advice he received from aides, prevents public scrutiny of documents that would shed light on how he decided which pardons to approve from among hundreds of requests.
Clinton's legal agent declined the option of reviewing and releasing the documents that were withheld, said the archivists, who work for the federal government, not the Clintons.
The decision to withhold much of the requested material could provide fodder for critics who say that the former president and his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, now seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, have been unwilling to fully release documents to public scrutiny.
Understandably, the Obama campaign is a little perplexed. They hoped to have some juicy stuff to hang out for the public to see and ended up empty handed. Oh well, there's always her tax returns - if she ever gets around to releasing them.