For years, the liberal media have tried to defend almost every Clinton scandal. One of the few exceptions was Pardongate.
During his eight years in office, President Clinton granted 450 pardons and commutations. Thirty-nine percent of them were granted in his last day in office. He signed 140 pardons and 36 commutations. Most Americans were appalled by these disgraceful pardons. Many Democrats from President Carter to Senator Schumer refused to defend the pardon of Marc Rich.
About a month after leaving office, President Clinton wrote an op-ed explaining his reasons for granting the pardon of Marc Rich. He wrote, “The suggestion that I granted the pardons because Mr. Rich’s former wife, Denise, made political contributions and contributed to the Clinton library foundation is utterly false. There was absolutely no quid pro quo.”
It’s remarkable that he admits that Denise Rich donated money and then he pretends it isn’t connected to the pardon. She was no ordinary contributor. Denise donated $1 million to Democratic campaigns, including Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, and she also gave $450,000 to Bill Clinton’s Presidential Library.
If President Clinton granted that pardon, while simultaneously returning the money that Denise Rich donated to his library, I think it would be easier for skeptics to believe him. Since he didn’t do that, I don’t believe him.
Clinton would go on to say that other contributors asked for pardons and he didn’t grant them. That’s like a criminal saying that he only robs banks once a year. Should we give Bill Clinton a medal for all the bribes he rejected?
Presidents should have the power to pardon people. Sometimes presidents have granted unpopular pardons for the good of the country. In 2001, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library gave President Gerald Ford their Profile of Courage Award for pardoning Richard Nixon. In 1974, the decision was unpopular, but now many people believe it was the right thing to do.
Even Senator Edward Kennedy praised the pardon: “I was one of those who spoke out against his action then. But time has a way of clarifying past events, and now we see that President Ford was right. His courage and dedication to our country made it possible for us to begin the process of healing and put the tragedy of Watergate behind us.”
Although sometimes presidents make mistakes, a quid pro quo is unacceptable. It is also inexcusable for Hillary’s brothers to be paid for pardons. During Pardongate, both of Hillary’s brothers, Hugh and Tony, successfully lobbied President Clinton to help their clients escape justice.
Hugh Rodham was paid $200,000 to get a commutation for drug dealer Carlos Vignali and another $200,000 to get a pardon for Glenn Braswell who committed fraud. Both Bill and Hillary Clinton claimed they didn’t know anything about the pardon. Hugh was forced to immediately return the $400,000.
According to Bruce Lindsey, Hugh Rodham called him at the White House twice to press for Vignali’s early release from his 15-year prison sentence. Bruce Lindsey was a top advisor to President Clinton throughout his entire presidency. He served as an assistant to the President and deputy counsel.
After President Clinton left office Bruce Lindsey would serve as CEO of the Clinton Foundation (2003-2013) and is the current Chairman of the Board at the Clinton Foundation. It is remarkable that he would admit that Hugh Rodham called him.
What is also remarkable is that Bill Clinton would pretend that the commutation of Carlo Vignali had nothing to do with his brother-in-law. The Justice Department formally recommended that Vignali’s commutation be denied yet Clinton did it anyway two weeks later.
Hillary Clinton’s other brother, Tony Rodham, also got President Clinton to pardon people over the opposition of the Justice Department. Edgar and Vonna Jo White were convicted of bank fraud. They were both pardoned in 2000. Tony Rodham acknowledged that he received $325,000 from this couple, but claimed it had nothing to do with the pardon.
With a presidential debate looming, I doubt any of the moderators will ask Hillary a question about presidential pardons. None of them will say, “Secretary Clinton, even the Democrats wouldn’t defend the Marc Rich pardon. Will you promise that there will be no pardons for sale in your administration? How can you guarantee that?”
Will Secretary Clinton rule out any pardons or commutation for donors to the Clinton Foundation or her campaign contributors? Will she rule out a pardon for a close relative of a donor? After all, it was Denise Rich who gave the money while her ex-husband, Marc Rich, benefited from the pardon.
The pardons showed us that the Clintons are masters at violating the spirit of the law. The Clinton Foundation and the email controversy show us that they can also get away with violating both the spirit and the letter of the law.
The corruption at the Clinton Foundation is finally getting some traction, but nobody is willing to discuss what kind of favors Hillary Clinton could grant from the White House. Somebody has to tell Hillary that pardons are not for sale.