Reports: Roger Clinton Took Gambino Money

The family of a convicted crime boss paid Roger Clinton $50,000 and the check is being examined by a House panel investigating how the Clinton administration doled out pardons, according to a House official.

Rosario Gambino, a convicted heroin trafficker and reputed mafia boss, did not receive a pardon from former President Clinton. But the White House did request background information on Gambino from the Justice Department near the end of Clinton's second term, a source familiar with the House investigation said late Wednesday. The New York Times reported on its Web site that the background request was connected to a possible White House pardon. The Justice Department sent the Clinton administration a record of Gambino's criminal record, the newspaper said. A source close to the investigation also told the Times that Roger Clinton wrote a letter to Clinton's parole commission in 1999 on behalf of Gambino. Roger Clinton is former President Clinton's half brother. "We have posed questions to Mr. [Roger] Clinton and we did ask about a $50,000 payment from a company owned by the family of Rosario Gambino, who is serving at lengthy prison sentence for heroin traffic," Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the House Committee on Government Reform, told The Associated Press. Gambino is serving a 45-year sentence, Corallo said.

‘Tommy Gambino Is a Friend of Roger Clinton’s’

Roger Clinton's lawyer, Bart H. Williams, acknowledged Wednesday that his client had received money from the Gambino family, according to the Times. "Tommy Gambino is a friend of Roger Clinton's and has been for many years," Williams told the newspaper. "I'm not going to comment on what the payment is for or about. I am going to say it was not related to Roger Clinton's assisting Tommy Gambino's father in his parole efforts or any other effort." Corallo said proof of the check showed up when congressional investigators subpoenaed information on payments Roger Clinton received from people he requested pardons for. Roger Clinton has repeatedly denied that he received any payments for pardon requests. The controversy over whether the Clinton administration offered pardons for money began in the weeks after the president's final day in office, when he granted 177 clemencies and commutations. Three cases drew instant criticism: the pardon of then-fugitive commodities broker Marc Rich, commutations for four Hasidic Jews convicted of fraud and an allegation that Roger Clinton received up to $200,000 for promising to help a Texas man win a pardon.