March 7, 2008, - 6:07 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Uh-oh. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water at the Clintonista Presidential Library, the sharky slickster couple is blocking yet a new release of documents, including those relating to Slick Wet Willie’s pardons.
As we all remember, some of those pardons were calculated to win Slick Hilly Rodham Cankles the New York U.S. Senate seat. Still others were to set get the Rodham Laurel and Hardy Bros of Slick Hilly some cha-ching (they lobbied for pardons in exchange for cold, hard cash).
Oh, and we can thank George W. Bush for some of this. He signed an executive order–presumably to protect Poppy Bush–expanding the power of former Presidents to withhold certain archives. Heckuva job, Bushie. (Now, we’ll never know just which kind of Cuban cigars he and Bandar Bush a/k/a Saudi Prince Bandar–whose wife funded the 9/11 hijackers–were smoking on the Roosevelt Balcony of the White House the night of 9/11. Damn.)
As much as I prefer a President Cankles to a President B Hussein O, this is important. And don’t kid yourself–as much as Barack Hussein Obama is making an issue out of this, when he and Mrs. Bitch-ama leave the White House, they’ll hide their excrement from public viewing, too. Here’s the latest expose on the Clinton-via-Bush refusal to let us see the docs:
Federal archivists at the Clinton Presidential Library are blocking the release of hundreds of pages of White House papers on pardons that the former president approved, including clemency for fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich.
The archivists’ decision, based on guidance provided by Bill Clinton that restricts the disclosure of advice he received from aides, prevents public scrutiny of documents that would shed light on how he decided which pardons to approve from among hundreds of requests.
Clinton’s legal agent declined the option of reviewing and releasing the documents that were withheld, said the archivists, who work for the federal government, not the Clintons.
The decision to withhold the records could provide fodder for critics who say that the former president and his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, now seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, have been unwilling to fully release documents to public scrutiny. . . .
In January 2006, USA TODAY requested documents about the pardons under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The library made 4,000 pages available this week. However, 1,500 pages were either partially redacted or withheld entirely, including 300 pages covering internal White House communications on pardon decisions, such as memos to and from the president, and reports on which pardon requests the Justice Department opposed. . . .
Former president Clinton issued 140 pardons on his last day in office, including several to controversial figures, such as commodities trader Rich, then a fugitive on tax evasion charges. Rich’s ex-wife, Denise, contributed $2,000 in 1999 to Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign; $5,000 to a related political action committee; and $450,000 to a fund set up to build the Clinton library.
The president also pardoned two men who each paid Sen. Clinton’s brother, Hugh Rodham, about $200,000 to lobby the White House for pardons – one for a drug conviction and one for mail fraud and perjury convictions, according to a 2002 report by the House committee on government reform. After the payments came to light, Bill Clinton issued a statement: “Neither Hillary nor I had any knowledge of such payments,” the report said.
The pardon records released by the library divulge little that might settle debate about those and other pardons. But they do shed new light on the volume of clemency requests that former president Clinton received – and the pressures he and his staff faced as friends, advisers, political leaders and foreign heads of state weighed in to influence which petitions would be granted.
The files contain handwritten letters from several of the president’s close associates. Former Democratic Party chairman Donald Fowler of South Carolina wrote a note seeking clemency for former congressman John Jenrette, D-S.C., who was convicted in the 1980 Abscam sting in which FBI agents, posing as Middle Eastern businessmen, offered lawmakers bribes for political favors. Clinton did not grant the pardon. [DS: Thank Heaven for small favors!]
Most of the withheld documents, including dozens of clemency pleas sent to the president, were blocked from release under FOIA rules that protect personal privacy. The 300 pages of internal White House documents on pardon requests were blocked under the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which allows presidents to maintain the confidentiality of communications with their advisers for up to 12 years after they leave office.
In 2002, Clinton sent a guidance letter to his library that urged quick release of most White House records but retained the confidentiality prerogative covering advice from his staff. Still, Clinton said the restriction should be interpreted “narrowly” and allowed that certain records detailing internal communications could be made public if reviewed and approved for release by his designated legal agent. . . .
The archivists’ decision to withhold records that could be construed as confidential communications between Clinton and his advisers is more consistent with the Bush administration’s hard line on the release of White House records . . . .
President Bush signed an order in November 2001 that broadened former presidents’ prerogative to block the release of internal White House records. That order, which Bill Clinton opposed, also allows a president’s immediate family to assert the privilege.
So, just what are the Clintons hiding? What do Bill and Hillary Clinton not want us to see until after a certain date in November? Just what is George W. Bush hiding for his dad and for himself into the future?
Just asking. . . . And probably never getting an answer.
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