Saturday, March 1, 2008

Comment: Library Scandal and the Pardon Power

Today's Washington Post notes that the President, when asked whether he would disclose the identities of donors to his library, said, "We'll look at the disclosure requirements and make a decision." He also noted that "some people . . . like to give and don't particularly want their names disclosed, whether it be for this foundation or any other foundation. And so we'll take that into consideration." The Post considers this the "wrong" answer. Why? Because:

It was an outrage when Mr. Bush's predecessor, President Bill Clinton, collected millions of dollars in secret money for his library while in office. Just how outrageous became clear as Mr. Clinton left the presidency, when he granted a pardon to fugitive financier Marc Rich; Mr. Rich's ex-wife had given $450,000 to the Clinton library.
Yes, eight years later, the Post is still obsessing over the Marc Rich pardon. But, really, how much of an "outrage" could it really be? Why, Mrs. Clinton is running for the presidency today and her husband is campaigning vigorously on her behalf right now. Have either one of them ever been asked about the Marc Rich pardon? While Mrs. Clinton has attached herself to the successes of her husband's administration, has anyone ever asked her about the numerous pardon scandals in that administration and her opinion of them? Must our memory be so sloppy, so selective and so skewed?

Why doesn't the Post consider it an "outrage" that Mrs. Clinton's brother collected large fees for pardons? Why doesn't the Post consider the FALN pardons (and Mrs. Clinton's reaction to them) an outrage? Does anyone remember Mrs. Clinton's involvement with the pardon of the Hasidic Jews in the community in New York?

Kalmen Stern, David Goldstein, Benjamin Berger and Jacob Elbaum bilked $40 million worth of student Pell grants and loans from government sources for a phony school in the Hasidic community of New Square. Clinton said that although she attended a White House meeting in which the pardon issue was raised, "I never made any view known." She met with community leaders earlier. She attended the meeting where the pardon was discussed. But she said nothing. Talk about an "outrage!"

Meanwhile, while the watchdog press sleeps, Mrs. Clinton will continue to complain that she is not competing on a level playing field and that it is really tough for her, because she is a woman, and the Obama has it easy. See Post editorial here.

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