Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Remembering Eric Holder (Correctly)

On April 2, 2001, Lisa Richardson of the Los Angeles Times wrote a piece entitled, "A Prisoner's Please to a President." A portion of the article reads:
... If viewed favorably by the pardon attorney, applications moved up to former Deputy Atty. Gen. Eric Holder’s office, and then to the White House. That’s the theory.

Margaret Love, the nation’s pardon attorney from 1990 to 1997, in both the Bush and Clinton administrations, said the reality is far different. The current focus of political inquiry–whether strings were pulled in some special clemency cases–misses the point, she says. Pulling strings has been almost the only way for anyone to obtain clemency. While she was pardon attorney, Love said, she was discouraged from urging commutation for anyone who did not have high-powered support.

“I was operating under what was in effect a ‘just say no’ directive from the deputy attorney general’s office,” Love said. “At one point I was told explicitly that favorable recommendations in commutation cases would not be favorably received unless there had been a prior expression of interest from the White House or from a member of Congress.”

Such was the case with Marc Rich, an alleged tax evader who fled the country to avoid trial, and Carlos Vignali Jr., a Los Angeles cocaine trafficker ...

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