"The president reviews these cases and considers the recommendation of the U.S. Pardon Attorney and makes careful decisions," he said in an e-mail statement.
In total, Bush announced 14 pardons and two commutations Monday. The other person to receive a commuted sentence was James Russell Harris of Detroit, also in prison on cocaine charges.
"The process really is a black box," Gill said. "The president doesn't have to give a reason."
But Gill said it's likely that all the support Forte had on the outside helped his cause, as it implies that he'll have a strong support network once he's released.
Gill is hoping there will be more people like Forte on Bush's list by the end of the year.
While people do need to be punished for their crimes, she said, the prison system was set up to keep America safe.
"Are we really afraid of John Forte?" she asked.
ABC News' Theresa Cook and Kirit Radia contributed to this report.