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April 22, 2006

Troubling patterns in Bush's pardons

Earlier this week, as noted here, President Bush issued another small batch of executive pardons.  Margy Love has already commented hat the "latest round of grants are predictably unexceptionable: none of the offenses is particularly serious (the longest prison term was three years) and most are quited dated."  The full list of the pardoned persons and their crimes is available in this news release.

In an astute post at White Collar Crime Prof Blog, Peter Henning here has some interesting (and troubling) observations about Bush's latest batch of pardons:

[A] a substantial number of [those pardoned] fall into the white collar crime category.... Three involved tax offenses, and a fourth was convicted of a tax crime along with mail fraud. It is interesting that the pardons for those offenses would come so close to the annual tax filing day, amid a crackdown by the IRS and DOJ on tax evasion schemes....

The [pardoned] defendant who [had] received the greatest punishment was Mark Hale, sentenced to three years for his role in a bank fraud involving the savings and loan at which he was CEO. Back in the early 1990s, the so-called "S&L Crooks" were the functional equivalent of Ken Lay, Bernie Ebbers, and the like — CEOs and senior managers accused of serious misconduct that had a substantial deleterious effect on the economy.

I suppose it is not surprising that white-collar offenders seem to get more than their fair share of presidential pardons.  But, especially in the midst of the Enron trial and the Justice Department's continued emphasis on the need to battle corporate fraud, it is troubling to see a crooked former corporate CEO getting one of the President's very few pardons.

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April 22, 2006 at 02:01 AM | Permalink

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