Monday, July 11, 2011

Bremer on Vennes (Bachmann, Coleman and Pawlenty)

Karl Bremer, at Ripple in Stillwater, is producing a series of posts on what he calls the "political pardon" of Frank Elroy Vennes, Jr. Bremer promises the posts will, at some point, raise "questions" about "the integrity of the presidential pardon process itself." Bremer also claims Vennes' clemency application "went through several unusual permutations of approval and denial as it was volleyed back and forth between the Pardon Office, FBI, Deputy Attorney General and the White House over nearly eight years before it was ultimately recommended for approval in 2008."

The background on the case is as follows: Vennes was convicted for money laundering, illegal firearms and cocaine trafficking charges in late eighties and served just over three years in prison. He emerged a religious man, and took up a business in rare and precious stones. Vennes and his family also became "major" campaign contributors to the likes of Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Norm Coleman, and the Minnesota State Republican Party. Bachmann, Coleman and Pawlenty returned the favor(s) by recommending Vennes for a presidential pardon.

Bremer says "former federal officials" who are "familiar with the pardon process" say Vennes' clemency application was headed for the White House and approval in July of 2008. But, a few months later, two of Vennes' homes were raided in connection with a $3.5 billion Ponzi scheme. Bremer says Backmann's office "began to move quickly" to put "distance" between herself and Vennes.

First, she wrote a letter to the Office of the Pardon Attorney, withdrawing her support for clemency, but without offering any specific explanation as to why she was doing so. U.S. Pardon Attorney Ronald Rodgers informed White House associate legal counsel of Bachmann's decision on October 3.
Bremer says Bachmann then tried to "symbolically wash her hands" by donating $9,200 ("a amount equal to Frank and Kimberly Vennes’ June 30 donations to Bachmann") to Minnesota Teen Challenge. Bremer notes that, on October 24, Vennes "withdrew his request for executive clemency, the White House returned his case to the Office of Pardon Attorney and the case was 'no actioned' and closed."

Vennes' trial scheduled to begin in February 2012. See Part One of Bremer's series here.

No comments:

blogger templates | Make Money Online