By Michael Reagan
Anybody who watched presidential spokesman Tony Snow face a pack of snarling White House press corps correspondents following President Bush’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence will understand the meaning of the word hypocrisy.
These are the very same media hacks who turned a blind eye to Clintonista Sandy Berger stuffing national security documents in his socks, stealing them from the National Archives and destroying them and then getting nothing more in the way of punishment than a mere slap on the wrist.
Then there was Mrs. Hillary Clinton, who had the gall to issue a statement saying, "Today's decision is yet another example that this Administration simply considers itself above the law. This case arose from the Administration's politicization of national security intelligence and its efforts to punish those who spoke out against its policies. Four years into the Iraq war, Americans are still living with the consequences of this White House's efforts to quell dissent. This commutation sends the clear signal that in this Administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice."
Said Tony Snow: "I don't know what Arkansan is for chutzpah, but this is a gigantic case of it."
Here, after all, is the wife of a president who all but peddled pardons to an assortment of felons and miscreants including one malodorous fugitive from justice who had renounced his American citizenship.
Doesn’t this woman recall that on her husband’s last day in the White House he signed 140 pardons and several commutations? Among the beneficiaries of Clinton’s compassion, according to Wikipedia :
*Melvin J. Reynolds, a Democratic Congressman from Illinois, who was convicted of bank fraud, 12 counts of sexual assault, obstruction of justice and solicitation of child pornography. Clinton commuted the sentence on the bank fraud and Reynolds was allowed to serve the final months under the auspices of a halfway house.
*His half-brother Roger Clinton on drug charges after having served the entire sentence more than a decade earlier.
*Marc Rich, a fugitive who had renounced his U.S. citizenship, was pardoned for tax evasion charges. Denise Rich, Marc's former wife, was a close friend of the Clintons and had made substantial donations to both Clinton's library and Hillary's Senate campaign. Clinton agreed to a pardon that required Marc Rich to pay a $100,000,000 fine before he could return to the United States. According to Paul Volker’s independent investigation of the U.N. Oil-for-Food kickback schemes, Rich was a middleman for several suspect Iraqi oil deals involving more than 4 million barrels of oil.
*Carlos A. Vignali, who had his sentence for cocaine trafficking commuted after serving 6 of 15 years in federal prison.
*Almon Gledd Braswell was pardoned for his convictions for perjury and mail fraud, even while a federal investigation was underway regarding additional money laundering and tax evasion charges. Braswell and Vignali each paid approximately $200,000 to Hillary Clinton's brother, Hugh Rodham, to represent their respective cases for clemency. Hugh Rodham returned the payments after they were disclosed to the public. Braswell would later invoke the Fifth Amendment at a Senate Committee hearing in 2001, when questioned about allegations of his having systematically defrauded senior citizens of millions of dollars.
*In March 2000, Bill Clinton pardoned Edgar and Vonna Jo Gregory, owners of United Shows International, for bank fraud charges from a 1982 conviction. (They were already out of jail, but the prior conviction prevented them from doing business in certain states.) Hillary Clinton’s youngest brother, Tony, was an acquaintance of the Gregorys, and had lobbied Clinton on their behalf.
In the wake of the pardons the Federal prosecutor in New York, Mary Jo White, was appointed to investigate what the media was calling “Pardongate.” She was replaced by James Comey, who obligingly cleared Clinton of any wrongdoing. This same James Comey was later responsible for the appointment of Patrick Fitzgerald as the special prosecutor who indicted Libby.