Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Obama Pardons

It is only 11 am here in the Chicagoland area, but who are we kidding anyway? It is time to think about who will be on on the Pardon Watch List once Barack Obama takes the oath of office to be the next President of the United States. Few candidates have brought so much baggage with them in this area. Here are some obvious possibilities:

1. Tony Rezko - Early supporter of Obama in Illinois and enthusiastic fund raiser. Served on Obama's Senate finance committee. Recently convicted on 16 counts of influence peddling. Also faces trial in Chicago for a $10 million in business fraud and in Nevada for unpaid casino-gambling debts. Some unknown spokesman for Obama has said that no pardon will be forthcoming. Obama himself has said nothing and, throughout the rigorous vetting process of the long campaign, not single reporter even bothered to ask.

2. Larry Walsh - Campaigned for Obama in rural and farming areas of the state and became "tight friends" during their tenure in the Illinois Senate, bonding over games of poker. Obama also endorsed Walsh in a county executive election bid. Walsh recently had his offices "raided" by the FBI.

3. ACORN workers - With vote fraud perpetuated by ACORN workers in Wisconsin, Ohio, Washington, Colorado, Missouri and Michigan, an Obama Justice Department - even one headed by the likes of Eric Holder - might have to prosecute someone, somewhere. That is when it might be reasonable to expect the Community Organizer in Chief to extend clemency.

4. Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac execs - It is not likely that an Obama Justice Department will engage in any serious investigation of possible misconduct in the institutions which played a lead role in timely trashing of the economy. Should Republicans somehow force Obama's hand, however, there is the fact that the top three recipients of Mae and Mac campaign contributions over the last ten years are Christopher Dodd (D), Barack Obama (D) and John Kerry (D). Obama's ranking in second place is, of course, downright astounding given his brief tenure in the Senate.

5. Martha Stewart - Democratic candidate supporter extraordinaire (in the manner of Peter Yarrow, pardoned by Jimmy Carter) who has also been a fairly vocal supporter of Obama. Look for a pardon statement which speaks not only of her charitable contributions and community service, but also of questionable guilt and over-zealous prosecution. Expect no chat whatsoever of the notion that accepting the pardon implies guilt - not even from the Washington Post.

6. Jack Johnson - If President Bush does not grant this symbolic pardon, to the dead African-American boxer long ago convicted of violating the Mann Act, Obama just might. John McCain's support for clemency will make the whole episode great PR.

7. Don Siegelman and Richard Scrushy - The former Alabama Governor (Siegelman) has long linked his conviction to partisan animosity in the Bush administration and the machinations of the evil Karl Rove. Obama can grant pardons, encourage Congress to conduct a show "investigation" and then let Don and Dick tell their story.

8. Edwin Edwards - This former two-time Democratic governor of Louisiana was convicted of racketeering and is serving out a 10-year sentence. He is 81-years old and well into the sixth year of the sentence.

9. John Forte - Grammy winning African American recording artist who maintained his innocence in the face of a drug trafficking charge and was smacked with a mandatory sentence of 14 years. Clemency is supported by singer Carly Simon, a long-time Democratic contributor and Obama supporter.

10. William Jefferson - Federal investigators raided the congressional office of this Democratic Representative and a raid on one of his homes uncovered $90,000 in bribe money stashed in a freezer. He was then indicted by a federal grand jury for misusing his congressional office and stripped of his post in the Ways and Means Committee. Jefferson has pleaded innocent, but will not discuss the case publicly.

Some possible carry-overs from the Bush administration:
- Ron Isley (tax evasion)
- Marion Jones (steroids)
- Chibueze Okorie (driver for a heroine ring)
- Michael Vick (conspiracy to operate interstate dogfighting ring)


Tamara said...

Interesting and clever thinking that you would point out Marion Jones and Michael Vick as potential pardon candidates.

I don't think Michael Vick has a chance, at least not this early in the game. (No pun intended!) He had the world in the palm of his hand and chose to engage in absurdly silly and violent behavior. Animal rights activists would go nuts, as would any group tied to anti-violence.

Marion Jones, on the other hand, may very well be the first athlete to receive a pardon. (Is this correct?) She was possibly pressured so much by her coaches and trainers that she couldn't really "appreciate" her conduct. Of course, she knew her behavior was illegal but seems like she may have gotten sucked in at such a young age.

Attorney Tamara Holder

P.S. Ruckman, Jr. said...

Editor:No logical way to back any of this up, but, for some reason, it is easy to imagine, when the time comes, the whole world wanting Vick to land back on his feet. Toss a pardon on the end of it and it would be the feel good story of the century.

On the other hand, right or wrong, it seems more difficult to imagine the same sort of support developing for Jones. Again, it is just a hunch. Maybe, it was the dramatic I-did-nothing-wrong speech she gave, followed very shortly by a I-have-let-everyone-down speech. Maybe it is just that football is so popular. Don't know.

As for athletes and pardons, we refer you to the excellent reading here:


Anonymous said...

Wishful thinking on your part all together. To critize someone who has yet to even take office.

Why not tell about the incompetence we have endured for the past eight years under Bush and Cheny.

Thats right I forgot REPUBLICANS dont want to discuss that.

Michael said...


Thank for the Obama Pardon excerpts. By the way all law abiding U.S. born Black people did not vote for and even today are not fans of Barack "the Magic Negro" Obama!

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