Mary Mostert
July 21, 2007
Democrat amendment to limit president's constitutional authority to pardon foiled
By Mary Mostert

Yesterday while debating a bill entitled: COLLEGE COST REDUCTION ACT OF 2007, Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colorado) introduced amendment 2356 that had nothing to do with education. It declared:

Amendment 2356 to Amendment 2327:

Since I. Lewis ''Scooter' Libby previously served as Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney;

Since Mr. Libby was convicted in federal court of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with efforts by the Bush White House to conceal the fact that Administration officials leaked the name of a covert CIA agent in order to discredit her husband, a critic of the Iraq War;

Since U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton sentenced Mr. Libby to 30 months in prison to reflect the seriousness of the offense, the sensitivity of the national security information involved in Libby's crime, and the abuse of Mr. Libby's position of trust in the United States government;

Since President Bush chose to commute Mr. Libby's prison sentence in its entirety, thereby entitling Libby to evade serious punishment for his criminal conduct;

Since President Bush has refused to rule out the possibility that he will eventually issue a full pardon to Mr. Libby with respect to his criminal conviction;

Now therefore be it determined that it is the Sense of the Senate that President Bush should not issue a pardon to I. Lewis ''Scooter' Libby.

Republican Leader Senator Mitch McConnell promptly announced the absence of a quorum, which then required a roll call vote. After the roll call the Senate voted on Salazar's amendment which basically was an effort by the Senate to block the President's Constitutional authority in Article II, Section 2 which gives the president the "Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States." On a party line vote, the amendment was approved by the Democrats.

Senator McConnell then introduced Amendment 2357, which was read aloud by the Senate Clerk, as follows:

Deploring the actions of former President William Jefferson Clinton regarding his granting of clemency to terrorists, to family members, donors, and individuals represented by family members, to public officials of his own political party, and to officials who violated laws protecting United States intelligence, and concluding that such actions by former President Clinton were inappropriate.

The Armed Forces of National Liberation (the FALN) is a terrorist organization that claims responsibility for the bombings of approximately 130 civilian, political, and military sites throughout the United States, and whereas, on August 11, 1999, President Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 terrorists, all of whom were members of the FALN, and whereas this action was taken counter to the recommendation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and two United States Attorneys;

Since, on January 20, 2001, former President Clinton commuted the sentence of Susan L. Rosenberg, a former member of the Weather Underground Organization terrorist group whose mission included the violent overthrow of the United States Government, who was charged in a robbery that left a security guard and 2 police officers dead;

Since, on January 20, 2001, former President Clinton commuted the sentence of Linda Sue Evans, a former member of the Weather Underground Organization terrorist group, who made false statements and used false identification to illegally purchase firearms that were then used by Susan L. Rosenberg in a robbery that left a security guard and 2 police officers dead;

Since, on January 20, 2001, former President Clinton pardoned Patricia Hearst Shaw, a former member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, a domestic terrorist group which also advocated the violent overthrow of the United States, and that carried out violent attacks in the United States;

Since, on January 20, 2001, former President Clinton pardoned his half-brother Roger Clinton, who had been convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and of distribution of cocaine;

Since, on March 15, 2000, former President Clinton pardoned Edgar and Vonna Jo Gregory, who had been convicted of conspiracy to willfully misapply bank funds and to make false statements and who, according to news reports, were represented by the former President's brother-in-law, Tony Rodham;

Since, on January 20, 2001, former President Clinton commuted the sentence of Carlos Vignali, a convicted cocaine trafficker who, according to news reports, was represented by the former President's brother-in-law, Hugh Rodham;

Since, on January 20, 2001, former President Clinton pardoned Almon Glenn Braswell, an individual convicted of money laundering and tax evasion, who according to news reports, was represented by former President's brother-in-law, Hugh Rodham;

Since, on December 22, 2000, former President Clinton pardoned former Democratic Representative Dan Rostenkowski, who had been convicted of mail fraud;

Since, on January 20, 2001, former President Clinton commuted the sentence of convicted sex offender and former Democratic Representative Mel Reynolds, who had been found guilty of bank fraud, wire fraud, making false statements to a financial institution, conspiracy to defraud the Federal Elections Commission, and making false statements to a Federal official;

Since, on January 20, 2001, former President Clinton pardoned his former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros, who had been convicted of making false statements about payments to his mistress;

Since, on January 20, 2001, former President Clinton pardoned Susan McDougal, who had been a key figure in the Whitewater investigation and who had been convicted of aiding and abetting, in making false statements, and who refused to testify against the former President in the investigation; Since, on January 20, 2001, former President Clinton pardoned Christopher Wade, who was a real estate salesmen involved in the Whitewater matter;

Since, on January 20, 2001, former President Clinton pardoned his former Director of Central Intelligence John Deutch for his mishandling of national security secrets; and

Since, on January 20, 2001, former President Clinton pardoned Samuel Loring Morison, a former Navy intelligence analyst who was convicted on espionage charges: Now, therefore, be it determined that it is the sense of the Senate that

(1) former President Clinton's granting of clemency to 16 FALN terrorists, two former members of the Weather Underground Organization, and a former member of the Symbionese Liberation Army was inappropriate;

(2) former President Clinton's granting of clemency to individuals either in his family or represented by family members was inappropriate;

(3) former President Clinton's granting of clemency to public figures from his own political party was inappropriate;

(4) former President Clinton's pardons of individuals involved with the Whitewater investigation, a matter in which the former First Family was centrally involved, was inappropriate; and

(5) former President Clinton's pardons of individuals who have jeopardized intelligence gathering and operations were inappropriate. Senator McConnell then stated:

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, if the Senate has decided to go into debating the appropriateness of future pardons, there is plenty of material to go around on past pardons. President Clinton's decision to pardon a host of individuals convicted of serious crimes then is certainly worthy of Senate comment as well.

Many of the individuals were convicted of the crime of terrorism.

Some were individuals who jeopardized intelligence gathering. Some were family members and represented by family.

My fundamental point is if the Senate wants to spend the evening commenting on the advisability of pardons that have not yet occurred, maybe we ought to go on record discussing the appropriateness of pardons that have already occurred.

At which point Senator Kennedy suddenly complained that his education bill was being held held up by amendments that did not have anything to do with education. Again it was decided there was no quorum and a roll call vote was needed. After the roll call, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) announced:

"I ask unanimous consent that on the Salazar amendment, the vote be vitiated,stricken from the RECORD, and that we not have a rollcall vote on the amendment that was offered by my distinguished counterpart, Senator MCCONNELL."

Could it possibly be that the Republican leader in the Senate has finally found a way to stop some of the almost daily unconstitutional efforts of by the Democrats to run give orders to the Republican president? Perhaps. However, the only real solution to the problem is the next election. The voting public needs to note what is going on, the time that is being wasted, the dangers this kind of congressional idiocy puts our country in and vote a few people into office who have READ the U.S. Constitution. We need more Mitch McConnells in Washington.

© Mary Mostert

 

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Mary Mostert

Mary Mostert is a nationally-respected political writer. She was one of the first female political commentators to be published in a major metropolitan newspaper in the 1960s... (more)

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