I don’t have much of a clue about these people below who yesterday were given presidential pardons. I think the same thing every time.
After I look at the list of (often very minor) charges, locales and convictions – and their antiquity – “just strange” is all I can say:
Using CNN’s descriptions, those granted pardons Wednesday were:
# James Edward Reed, Kaufman, Texas, conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute, sentenced January 1975 to 18 months in prison and two years special parole.
# Billie Curtis Moore, Waterford, Michigan, income tax evasion, sentenced July 1977 to two years probation and a $10,000 fine.
# David Thomas Billmyer, North Port, Florida, making a false claim, sentenced December 1978 to two months hard labor following a court-martial.
# Richard Ardell Krueger, Rock Hill, South Carolina, mail fraud, false information on a government housing loan application, sentenced May 1979 to three years probation and a $1,000 fine for mail fraud, sentenced October 1980 to 15 months in prison on the other charge.
# Michael Mark McLaughlin, Bedford, New Hampshire, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, sentenced August 1983 to 27 months in prison, five years probation and $20,827 in restitution.
# William Charles Davis, Blacksburg, Virginia, income tax evasion, sentenced August 1983 to two years probation and a $10,000 fine.
# Scott LaVerne Sparks, Pana, Illinois, theft of government property, sentenced May 1989 to three years probation.
Other than making these people feel better about themselves, what really is the point of these regular presidential pardons?
In his eight years, President Clinton had right around 450 who got the royal blessing of forgiveness.
Richard Nixon was the most infamous recipient of the PP, and it is with no gentle sense of irony that W. Mark Felt, self-outed as “Deep Throat” last month is now maybe the second most infamous recipient of the PP (by Ronald Reagan) though Iran-contra era Casper Weinberger – by George H.W. Bush – may still have the edge. Marc Rich is probably a distant fourth, husband of Democratic big-money donor Denise Rich.
But why? And to what end? I’m too knackered to look up these people’s names right now. Obviously, Mr. Reed is an old buddy from the sturm und drang party days, but there is little clue about the rest.
From Marc Rich coverage in 2001 we know people lobby for their pardon cause, criminals get nominated for a pardon and go through a vetting process. But how do people like these seven end up on the “To un-Do” list?
Jimmy Carter and Andrew Johnson both offered blanket amnesties in the face of post-war national malaise, the Vietnam War draft and Civil War confederates, respectively. These though can be understood.
How did this tradition get started? The truth is out there. A lot of it is here.
In the meantime, keep this in mind – Don’t step on the little people on the way up – they may save your ass from falling all the way down to the basement.