Home / Pardon? Bush picks his ‘magnificent seven’ for the presidential mercy

Pardon? Bush picks his ‘magnificent seven’ for the presidential mercy

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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.

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About temple

Always been a writer, always maintained an interest in politics, how people communicate and fantasy worlds within photography and books. Previously wrote for Blogcritics back in 2005 and interested in exploring the issues and topics I'm interested - the changing landscape of entertainment. all from the POV of a creator first, consumer, second.
  • Don Marquez

    Any one care to hear my two cents worth about Presidential Pardons? From a federal convict? many of you out their run your mouths about topics you know nothing about. Some people do learn their lesson, some do rehabillitate themselves on their own,millions are spent on the criminal problem. Funny no one ever has an answer. there are studies and laws passed and on and on it goes. So when is the debt paid in full? Lets talk about reintegrating people back into society. I for one would like to one day vote again and hunt with a firearm. Have my criminal record expunged. Take my place in American Society,work hard at a decent paying job, pay taxes, defend my country thru military reserve or Nat. Guard trng. Hell anything would probably be better than being a mover. Yeah I want to sound off America! I made a big mistake once and definitly learned my lesson. And made up my mind not to repeat violating the law again.I , not prison or laws or other people changed my behavior with sheer willpower. And I will continue thru my next 50 years!regardless of others who refuse to believe that we convicted felons have the capacity to change ourselves. HOW BOUGHT IT AMERICA, WHAT DO YA SAY? Don Marquez Denver Colorado

  • >>Is that the only way a person may obtain a pardon in the U.S. for a criminal offence?

    It is for federal crimes – though I believe many of these crimes are not federal. (Hard to tell without knowing the cases).

    Governors can pardon – or commute – death sentences in their states. I’m sure it varies from state to state but on the whle I don’t think governors can pardon other crimes. I’m more than willing to be proved wrong on this. I haven’t looked it up – yet.

  • I find it interesting to note the differences in obtaining a pardon between Canada and the U.S. Up here all one has to do is wait five years after a conviction and completion of sentance, including all parole time, and apply to the Parole board. If you have been clean for that time period and not convicted of a crime labeling you a dangerous offender or on parole for life, you will be most likely granted your pardon and your record expunged.
    I find it hard to believe that people’s fate could rest on the whim’s and choises of one man as it seems your system allows it. Is that the only way a person may obtain a pardon in the U.S. for a criminal offence?

  • I don’t really have a problem with the exercise of Executive Pardons by the President. I think that it is a necessary tool of the position and while it may get abused, I can’t see how it has been so abused that it should be excluded from the Executive’s privileges. President Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon is a classic example of how important it was to get this country to heal after Watergate. Ford took a lot of heat for what he did and I think History will treat the Ford presidency with more respect than that of a few others.

  • It will be interesting to see if Bush lays out a jillion pardons for major financial supporters the way that Clinton did when he left office. I bet he won’t.


  • Well, I’ll bet Ken Lay is figuring now that Bush got re-elected, he’ll have to wait 3 more years to get his “last official Presidential act” pardon from George. I wonder if Ken sort of half wished Bush had lost last time so he could have recieved his pardon already.

  • The unifying characteristic here seems to be that these are all people who did their crimes long ago, have done their time as a result, and I would bet have lived exemplary lives since then and perhaps proven themselves worthy of a clean record based on later deeds.


  • Matt

    I like the story, and I like yourself am somewhat confused as to this whole pardon thing.

    Regarding DrPat’s comments, it is the “people” who create the “system”, so I am not sure where you draw the distinction.

    Stealing, lying, tax evasion, these are actions that hurt society as a whole so we elect officials to create laws to protect our society.

    To somehow imply, no victim no foul, seems somewhat naive. Society is the victim and thus the people.

    The problem as pointed out by the main story is that apparently we also elect officials to pardon them!?!?

  • I’d say, given the brief descriptions of their crimes, a pardon is appropriate – with the exception of Reed, these are all crimes against the system, not against persons. And the point of a pardon is to remove the taint of guilt.

    Besides, George W. Bush will be thoroughly acquainted with the concept of executive pardon from his years as Governor of Texas…

  • The post is worth the price just for the pleasure of discovering a new word: “Knackered!”

    And, since Mr. Reed never possessed marijuana (only conspired to get it and, therefore, was not able to distribute it) does that mean that “W” and Laura only conspired to inhale?

  • Man, the irony of a marijuana dealer from 1975 in Texas is just too much to passover.

    His official white house bio says George graduated in 1975 and returned to Texas that year.

    A quick google search seems to show Laura in Texas during that period also. So who was Mr.Reed selling his dope to?

    Of course George doesn’t like to talk about his “high times” in his past.