Holder and the Marc Rich Pardon

Nov 23, 2008 11:37am

Former Washington Post reporter George Lardner Jr. writes an op-ed this weekend for the New York Times looking at the role in the scandalous pardon of Marc Rich — "indicted along with his partner, Pincus Green, and their companies on 65 counts of defrauding the I.R.S., mail fraud, tax evasion, racketeering, defrauding the Treasury and trading with the enemy" — and the role in the pardon played by PEBO’s top choice to be attorney general, Eric Holder.

"I think the issue is far more complicated and deserves more scrutiny if Mr. Holder is to become our top law-enforcement official," Lardner writes.

On Jan. 19, 2001, Holder told White House counsel Beth Nolan, that he was "neutral leaning favorable" on the Rich pardon. After President Clinton granted the pardon, Rich’s attorney Jack Quinn later testified, "Holder called him to commend him on ‘a very good job,’" Lardner writes. "Mr. Holder also asked Mr. Quinn to consider hiring two former aides, one of whom had already contacted Mr. Quinn on Jan. 2 ‘at Holder’s suggestion.’

The historical precedent is that pardons, Lardner writes, should only be granted with "great caution and on the fullest information."

"Mr. Holder never came close to meeting that standard," Lardner writes. "He had the last word at Justice on clemency petitions and he saw to it that he had the only word. He brokered one of the most unjustifiable pardons that an American president has ever granted."

- jpt

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