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Monday, December 2, 2013
One of every two presidential pardons granted over the last four decades has been granted in a single month, December. The skew toward December remains even if one controls for (takes into consideration) fourth-year, or "last minute" surges in clemency activity (most presidents have, in fact, granted the largest number of pardons in the fourth and last year of their terms). Below, we present monthly data from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama, who has granted nine December pardons (out of a total of 39, and a single commutation of sentence).