Saturday, December 20, 2008

Watch List: Access. Influence. Favor. Hope. Politics.

The Chicago Tribune takes an "inside" look at the effort to secure a commutation of sentence for former Governor George Ryan (R). According to the Tribune, Ray LaHood "hand delivered" a personal letter to a "presidential aide" that "reminded the president of the long friendship between their two families and spoke of her husband's efforts to help both the president and his father win election." But the Tribune also notes:
Ryan was never particularly close to President Bush. The two disagreed over the death penalty and relations with Cuba, and Ryan initially backed former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) over Bush in the 2000 Republican presidential primary.
Ryan has maintained his innocence for several years now, but recently admitted to making "mistakes." Margaret Love, the U.S. pardon attorney from 1990 to 1997, says the support of Senator Dick Durbin (D) provides a degree of political cover since Durbin is "a respected senior senator" and "it gives the president some sense of reassurance about the likely political response." PardonPower adds that a simultaneous commutation of sentence for the former governor of Louisiana, Edwin Edwards (D), might also have the same political effect. See Tribune story here.

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