I remember years ago when I read about Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich, how I was reading the newspaper and The Husband walked into the room and I said, “Clinton pardon Marc Rich,” to which The Husband laughed, thinking it was a joke.
The prisoners were convicted on a variety of charges that included conspiracy, sedition, violation of the Hobbes Act (extortion by force, violence or fear), armed robbery and illegal possession of weapons and explosives — including large quantities of C-4 plastic explosive, dynamite and huge caches of ammunition. Mr. Clinton’s action was opposed by the FBI, the Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. attorney offices that prosecuted the cases and the victims whose lives had been shattered. In contravention of standard procedures, none of these agencies, victims or families of victims were consulted or notified prior to the president’s announcement.
The Clinton administration did not contact the victims’ families. Let that sink in for a moment.
Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder had to testify at the Senate Judiciary Committee on the pardons:
Now Obama has named Eric Holder his Attorney General.
Wall Street Journal editorial:
Eric Holder’s Politics
His years at Clinton Justice don’t inspire confidence.
In 1999, President Clinton offered clemency to 16 Puerto Rican members of the terrorist FALN, despite a previous warning from Attorney General Janet Reno that the group posed an “ongoing threat” to U.S. security. Here again, Mr. Holder’s role seems to have been larger than he has let on. A 1999 New York Times report notes that Mr. Holder and Justice Department pardon attorney Roger Adams met in November 1997 with Democratic House Members to discuss the Puerto Rican case.
“According to Mr. Adams’s notes,” reported the Times, “Mr. Holder told the members of Congress that because the prisoners had not applied themselves for clemency this could be taken that they were not repentant, and he suggested that a statement expressing some remorse might help.” Ultimately, the prisoners were freed having never offered a statement of remorse. The pardon was widely seen as an attempt to curry favor with Puerto Rican voters ahead of Mrs. Clinton’s 2000 Senate bid.
The WSJ also talks about the Marc Rich pardon, and also about Ira Magaziner’s misleading statements, and concludes,
For a politicized Justice Department, none can compare to the Clinton Administration’s, and the role that Mr. Holder played in it deserves the fullest airing before he is given the opportunity to return.
Hope, change, and back to the future abuse of executive power.
John Fund has more on Marc Rich’s Man at Justice.