Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Scooter Libby was not pardoned...

...He had his "double the sentencing guidelines" jail time commuted.

Libby was convicted of committing perjury and obstruction of justice regarding the completely legal actions of an, admittedly craven, senior State Department official. President Clinton was impeached
, but not convicted, for perjury and obstruction of justice. He lied to a Grand Jury about adultery, a misdemeanor in Washington DC.

Clinton lied about a crime he committed. Libby lied about a "crime" that was never committed.

Also, in facing another perjury charge, Clinton was disbarred from his Arkansas law license for five years and ordered to pay $25,000 in fines to that state's bar officials. This was done on the condition that Whitewater prosecutors would not pursue federal perjury charges against him.

That's the extent of Clinton's punishment. Mr. Libby will have to pay a fine of $250,000 and serve two years probation.

"It puts Libby on a par [well, Libby still has to pay 5 times the fine] with Sandy Berger, who stole classified information and destroyed it, and ultimately pled guilty to a felony and paid a $50,000 fine but avoided incarceration." H/T Captain's Quarters

So, that's a short comparison of the treatment of a few high-profile perjurers and felony perpetrators.

On the who pardoned whom question, former President Clinton has an interesting record:

In 1999, Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of FALN, a violent Puerto Rican nationalist group that set off 120 bombs in the United States mostly in New York City and Chicago. They were convicted for conspiracies to commit robbery, bomb-making, and sedition.

Overall, Clinton issued an average number of pardons, but the circumstances of some of them tend to be a bit more exciting than Scooter Libby's. Of 140 pardons Clinton issued on his last day in office, here are the lowlights:

Carlos A. Vignali had his sentence for cocaine trafficking commuted, after serving 6 of 15 years in federal prison.

Almon Braswell was pardoned for perjury and mail fraud even though, at the time, a federal investigation was being conducted about additional money laundering and tax evasion charges. Braswell and Carlos Vignali paid approximately $200,000 (each) to Hugh Rodham for representing them. Rodham is Hillary Clinton's brother. He returned the money when caught.

Marc Rich, living high in Europe, was pardoned of tax evasion. His ex-wife, Denise Rich, was a close friend of the Clintons. Denise donated more than $1 million to the Democratic Party, $450,000 to Clinton's Arkansas presidential library and about $100,000 to the Senate campaign of Hillary Clinton.

Roger Clinton, the president's half-brother, was pardoned on drug charges after having served his time more than a decade before.

I point these things out not because I much care about the Clinton perjury record, or his pardon legacy, but to show that the superheated Demorcrat and MSM commentary on Bush's commutation of Libby is self-serving hyberbole. Yawn.

I think Libby should be punished because he did commit perjury and he did obstruct justice. I just think the punishment should be less than that of either Clinton or Berger, because Libby's crime would never have happened but for overzealous prosecution, while both Clinton and Berger actually committed the crimes that spurred the invesigation. Both Berger's and Clinton's crime, moreover, were more serious.

Berger destroyed what were probably (we'll never know) the only copies of classified documents related to terrorist intelligence estimates.

If Clinton would lie to a Grand Jury, could he not have been blackmailed?

And spare me the "Clinton was never convicted" speech. We know he lied to a Grand Jury about Monica under oath. He escaped conviction through a form of jury negation. As for the Whitewater problem, he plea-bargained out of a Federal trial.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

How amusing. So Clinton somehow reassumed the office by magic and pardoned Sandy Berger? He didn't? Then what on earth is the point of bringing up Berger? For the sake of confusion?

The question here is really really simple, so simple even a neocon can understand it.

To what staff member did Clinton show clemency or pardon that could have put him in jail?

No answer? Too bad, your whole article is nullified.

The mighty CLENIS wins again!!!!

Hershblogger said...

Actually, the charge that Ms.Rodham made (see link below) was of cronyism, which I at first ignored as "self-serving hyberbole."

Sandy Berger was at least enough of a crony to steal documents that may have been embarrassing to President Clinton's "legacy." If that was not the reason, I'd be interested in what you think it was.

It was never my point that Berger was pardoned, he just got a lesser punishment for a more serious crime. Which is what I said.

If you could try and follow the actual post, you'd see I didn't bring up the pardon question until after I had pointed out the punishment discrepancy and except to compare it to the crimes committed by the pardoner.

If you didn't enjoy this post you will also not be particularly interested in Even Goldwater Girls Get the Blues

Your question regarding "what staff member did Clinton show clemency or pardon that could have put him in jail," would be more interesting if there was any point to it. There was no crime involving Valerie Plame. There was no crime involving George Bush. Their was no "crony" Bush could pardon that would heighten or lessen his legal risk one iota.