Wednesday, January 18, 2017

McCovey Pardon?! We Just Won't Know ...

Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mary) once applied for a presidential pardon on December 10, 1980, and got one, from Jimmy Carter, on January 19, 1981. He offense was committed in 1970. The cynic might guess the speedy process of mercy - in his case - was at least partially explained by fund raising prowess, fame and connections in the Democratic Party. But, we all know how cynics are.

Now, just days before President Obama leaves office, a pardon is granted to San Francisco Giant Hall-of-Famer Willie McCovey. Who on earth saw that one coming? How interesting it would be to know when Mr. McCovey filed his application? How long did he have to wait? Many have waited years ... many, many years. Did McCovey?

In the Bush administration, you could write the Office of the Pardon Attorney, and they would provide you with information on when applications were filed and when they were forwarded to the White House. A FOIA request for that information might take you might take 10 to 15 days to process, at max. They would e-mail it all, right to your home.

Today, the Office of the Pardon Attorney has nothing to do with Eric Holder's showy call for the "presumption of disclosure" in FOIA requests way back when. Holder's not around any more anyway. Obama's pardons Office ignores FOIA requests 200 - 600 days at a time. No response. Not even an acknowledgement of receipt.

As for the information one could get in the Bush administration easily, quickly ... Obama's Office can't get to it. Their new "electronic case filing" system has not improved their data prowess. Indeed, it has retarded and stupefied it. Or, so they claim. But, more importantly, even if that Office could make better use of the tax payer money it receives, it would need:
".... some discussion with all of the stakeholders involved in the executive clemency process to see if they all would approve of having that information public."
Here's your FOIA request! Hope and change that! One day, maybe 20-30 years from now, we will all learn the real story of the Willie McCovey pardon application. For now, the cynics can simply feed on the nontransparent nature of the DOJ as an institution ... and an attitude. Because the DOJ can say "no" like it is no one's business.

1 comment:

Ron Peltier said...

It's sad that President Obama forgot about his base supporters. All of Indian country supported this man and it would be interesting to know how many Native Americans got a pardon or clemency from this man. I know he couldn't pardon me for a "misdemeanor", it's utterly amazing on how many he pardoned or give clemency to for serious drug charges. My crime was a misdemeanor, pled guilty for misapplying federal dollars of a $100.00 or less. But then again you can't put all of the blame on Obama, you have to take into consideration the state you come from, and I live in the good old redneck state of North Dakota, where the U.S. Attorneys are all white and the biggest minority is Native Americans. And who writes a recommendation for you if you request a pardon, non other than the racist white U.S. Attorney who thinks all Natives are savages.

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