Originally created 02/14/01

Investigate pardons



At the very least, the congressional investigation of the Clinton pardon caper should continue. Even if Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Penn., is grandstanding when he suggests the former president could still be impeached, he raises some interesting questions; such as, at what point do our congressional representatives lay off Clinton? He's out of office, so why not leave him alone?

The answer is that on the way out of office, Clinton may have committed the most egregious acts of his presidency. He pardoned, among others, a fugitive billionaire who had funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into Clinton's coffers, ostensibly for his presidential library to be built in Little Rock, Ark.

Marc Rich, the aforementioned billionaire, has been avoiding justice in Switzerland, but his ex-wife has been the courier of cash, and the link between the donations and the pardon should be thoroughly investigated.

Mary Jo White, U.S. attorney for New York, may do just that. She says she may subpoena Denise Rich's bankbook to follow the money trail.

Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to open its hearings on the Clinton pardons today. And Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., who chairs the House Government Reform Committee, has set hearings to discuss reform of the pardon process.

With what Americans have learned about Clinton, would there now be enough public support to go after him? During the impeachment hearings, his ratings were so high that Congress lost its spine and wouldn't (or politically couldn't) remove him from office. But now that he's out, perhaps Americans will have a more realistic view of this man who trashed the institution of the presidency.

It may be the public has no stomach for another impeachment. But if it does nothing else, Congress should shine a bright light on Clinton's secretive actions, so citizens will learn the truth about his pardons of some of the nation's most notorious criminals.