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Mike Bryant
Mike Bryant
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Bush and Pardon Give Backs

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This past week, we learned of who President Bush was giving get out of jail free cards to. At the end of a Presidential term these pardons have always been looked at with an eye to what friends or possible embarrassments are getting taken care of. Many from the Clinton administration are still getting heat from his pardoning of Marc Rich. There has also been The Whiskey Rebels, Confederate Citizens, Jimmy Hoffa, Richard Nixon, Vietnam Draft Dodgers, Felt and Miller, George Steinbrenner, Caspar Weinberger, and Patty Hearst.

But this round of pardons has now added a twist, with the President attempting to take a mulligan. Less than 24 hours after pardoning Isaac Toussic, a Brooklyn -based real estate developer, it was announced that the President was taking it back. Considering how closely these pardons are scrutinized by the press, this is just sloppiness on the Administration’s part. Apparently, according to the New York Times, the reversal came after it was discovered that Toussie’s father, Robert, donated $28,500 to the Republican National Committee last April. Toussie also had hired a former top lawyer in the White House counsel’s office, Bradford Berenson, who had access to the president’s most senior advisor’s.

The question is : Can he do this?

The President doesn’t have the power to impose the sentence. Which means that the only way this should work is if the actual pardon hadn’t gone into effect yet. In analogy to Governor pardons, the warden will stay the execution or release the prisoner as soon as the notice or call comes from the Governor. Clearly, this pardon was advanced just like all others. The White House in all respects signed off on it.

While this case clearly doesn’t seem to deserve the pardon to begin with, it seems that the deal was done and it will go down as another Bush bungle on the way out.