Wait–A Presidential Pardon Issued By Bill Clinton Might Have Been Influenced By Cash?

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Nov 02, 2016 1:45 PM
Wait–A Presidential Pardon Issued By Bill Clinton Might Have Been Influenced By Cash?

Touching more upon what Leah wrote about concerning corrupt bargains and the Clintons, the FBI released documents relating to a FOIA request on the controversial pardon of commodities trader Marc Rich yesterday, who faced multiple counts of tax evasion. He fled to Switzerland prior to being indicted on a whole host of charges, including not paying $48 million in income taxes, trading with Iran, wire fraud, and racketeering. Rich died in 2013, but his pardon remained a source of palace intrigue, especially since there’s allegations that it could have been influenced by money. Rich’s wife was a heavyweight in the Democratic donor world, who gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to what would become the Clinton Foundation and Hillary’s New York Senate campaign (via USA Today):

"This initial release consists of material from the FBI's files related to the William J. Clinton Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization," reads a statement on the FBI records vault website. "The bulk of these records come from a 2001 FBI investigation into the pardon of Marc Rich (1934-2013), aka Marcell David Reich, by President Clinton in 2001; it was closed in 2005. The material is heavily redacted due to personal privacy protections and grand jury secrecy rules."

Rich, who died in 2013, was a financier who fled to Switzerland after being indicted on multiple federal charges, including tax evasion, in 1983. Clinton's motive for pardoning Rich on his last day in office was questioned because Rich's ex-wife, Denise Rich, was a wealthy Democratic donor who made a $450,000 donation to Clinton's presidential library foundation and more than $100,000 to Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign.

Now, the Clinton campaign has noted that the timing of this release is odd, though the FBI maintains that they followed protocol regarding the release of FOIA requested documents, according to Politico:

"The FBI's Records Management Division receives thousands of FOIA requests annually which are processed on a first in, first out (FIFO) basis. By law, FOIA materials that have been requested three or more times are posted electronically to the FBI’s public reading room shortly after they are processed," an FBI spokesperson said. "Per the standard procedure for FOIA, these materials became available for release and were posted automatically and electronically to the FBI’s public reading room in accordance with the law and established procedures.”

This is sort of a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s another situation where a Clinton, a pile of cash, and a possible ethically challenged decisions was made; a decision that shines more light into the morally ambiguous (or depraved) ways this power couple operates and will continue to operate should they be let back into the White House. It would a gold rush for the wealthy and well connected—a new Gilded Age. Then again, the FBI is already accused of playing politics with their announcement of that they will be reviewing 650,000 Clinton-related emails found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop; Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin shared the device. Weiner is under a separate investigation for online interactions with an underage girl, which led to the discovery of this trove of emails. FBI Director James Comey has been the Left’s punching bag, though he was their hero last summer, over the past few days for disclosing this update to the public. The original probe was all but closed in July, in which Comey held a press conference to announce that Clinton would not be charged, despite tearing into her and her staff’s practices concerning handling classified material. He’s facing blowback, but probably deduced that the backlash would be greater for the bureau should they sit on telling Congress of the emails and risk being accused of being part of a cover-up. In the end, this is all the Clintons’ fault, though that point and the ethical issues surrounding the Rich pardon could be lost due to the hyper partisan lens the FBI is seen through as of late.

Bloomberg reported that Rich’s companies plead guilty to 35 counts of tax evasion and paid $90 million in fines.