Before anyone gets too exercised about the Commonwealth’s editorial bit in the Dec. 10 paper ("Pardon power") criticizing President Donald Trump’s pardons of the trumped-up (no pun intended) charges against his so-called cronies (that is, by the ever more liberal and left-leaning Commonwealth) Roger Stone and General Michael Flynn, maybe you should recall (or read about for the first time?) former President Bill “Slick Willy” Clinton’s pardons.
With literally only a few hours remaining in Clinton’s last term in office, “Billy Boy” pardoned or commuted the sentence of 140 people, including some who had been convicted of very serious crimes. Among the most infamous and controversial were those granted to: (1) Melvin Reynolds, a Democratic congressman and Clinton supporter who was serving time for sexual assault and solicitation of child pornography; (2) Harvey Weinig, a New York City lawyer who had admitted to laundering $19 million from illegal drug sales and who told the judge who sentenced him that he had “no excuse” for his crimes; and (3) Marc Rich (what an ironic last name!), who had been indicted for evading $48 million in taxes and for engaging in illegal oil deals with Iran during the time Iran was holding U.S. citizens as hostages.
At the time of his pardon by Clinton, Rich was on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list, but he had fled to Switzerland. Even former Democrat President Jimmy Carter called Clinton’s pardon of Rich “disgraceful.”