“Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-TX) today asked Former President Bill Clinton if he would be available to testify at the Democrats’ Thursday hearing on presidential pardon authority”:
“Former President Clinton is no stranger to controversial pardons, most notably the pardon of Marc Rich on his last day in office,” stated Ranking Member Smith. “I can think of no better person to address this issue.”
At Thursday’s hearing of the Judiciary’s Crime Subcommittee entitled, “The Appropriate Use of the Presidential Pardoning Power,” Democrats are expected to explore what is and is not the appropriate use of pardons, despite a president’s plenary power to issue pardons.
President Clinton granted pardons or commuted the sentences of nearly 500 people, including fugitive financier Marc Rich, whose wife donated $450 thousand to the Clinton Library. Other pardons included a person accused of cocaine trafficking and a former Democratic committee chairman indicted on political corruption charges.
The Constitution gives the President the absolute authority to grant clemency, commutation, and remission of fines for offenses. Despite this absolute authority, presidents are not immune from criticism and even congressional attempts to restrict pardon authority.
“Mr. Clinton’s exercise of his pardon authority would be of real interest to Members of the Subcommittee,” concluded Smith. “I hope he will lend his expertise.”
Cute. But something tells me that President Clinton will have another gym workout that he just can’t get out of that day.