Holder to Face Grilling Over Clinton Pardons

Though she was not asked about it Tuesday, Hillary Clinton's brother Hugh Rodhamaccepted over $200,000 in fees to lobby on behalf of the convicted drug dealer Carlos Vignali, whose sentence was commuted by President Clinton. Vignali, who was convicted on cocaine charges and sentenced to 15 years in prison, is the son of a major campaign contributor, Horacio Vignali. It was Horacio who hired Hugh Rodham to lobby the White House for his son's clemency. At the request of the Clinton's, Hugh Rodham later returned the fees, his attorney said at the time.

Roger Adams, the former Justice Department pardon attorney, had strongly recommended that Vignali's clemency petition be denied. Adams did not wish to comment for this story, but the Los Angeles Times reported that Adams said he was asked by Republican staffers to testify at tomorrow's hearing, but that he said "I have informed them I have absolutely no interest in testifying, as there is no more that I can say."

A 2002 Congressional report by the Republican-controlled House Reform Committee concluded that Holder took an "irresolute position" on the Vignali case "allowing his subordinate to oppose the Vignali commutation while refusing to go on the record against a commutation the President apparently wanted to grant and the President's own brother-in-law supported." The report stated that rather than signing-off on the Adam's recommendation for denying clemency, Holder instead returned it to Adams unsigned. Adams then forwarded it to the White House with his own signature because he "believed it was important for the Justice Department to be on the record as opposed to the Vignali commutation," according to the Congressional report.

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