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January 26, 2007
Hillary, The Pardon Scam, And Why It Matters

Yesterday, ABC News reported that the court-appointed trustee for a bankruptcy judgment asked the court to schedule a hearing in the case against Hillary Clinton's brother Tony Rodham:

A court-appointed bankruptcy trustee asked a federal judge this week to schedule a new court date in a case against Tony Rodham, the brother of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., accused of failing to repay $109,000 in loans from a carnival company whose owners received controversial pardons issued by President Bill Clinton in the last hours of his presidency.

According to documents filed in the case, Rodham received the loans, before and after the pardons were granted, from United Shows of America, Inc., owned by Edgar Gregory and his wife, who had been convicted of defrauding several banks. ...

With the company now in bankruptcy and Gregory dead, the court-appointed federal trustee for United Shows, Michael Collins, has spent two years trying to get Rodham to repay the outstanding loans.

Rodham received payments and loans from the owners of United Shows, the Gregorys, who had been convicted of banking fraud and whose records kept them from gaining government contracts for their entertainment services. Miraculously, after receiving the loans, Bill Clinton pardoned his brother-in-law's benefactors, who never got or sought a dime in repaying the loans from United. Instead, the company went bankrupt, and the trustee found the unserviced loan on the books -- and won a judgment against Rodham.

People have questioned the news value of this case, which I covered last summer when the Washington Times noted the legal battle. Hillary's backers claim that the entire issue is nothing more than a smear campaign to discredit her candidacy in 2008. They also reject any connection to Hillary or Bill, arguing that they should not be held responsible for her brother's peccadilloes.

The critics could not be more wrong. Rodham got the "loan" in a series of 16 checks paid out from United Shows starting two months after Bill Clinton pardoned both Gregorys, over the objections of the Department of Justice. The money stream continued for 20 months, in small amounts, until Rodham had sucked $107,000 out of the company in cash. Six months later, the Gregorys declared bankruptcy, their pardons secured and their creditors left holding the bag.

Just as in the case of Marc Rich, we have another set of questionable pardons given by Bill Clinton in close proximity to substantial cash outlays to the Clintons and their families. (Denise Rich donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Clinton presidential library fund at the time of her ex-husband's pardon.) The proximity of the cash to the pardon, the overruled objections from the DoJ, the lack of any attempt to pay back the loan, and the family relationship all make it seem very likely that the 16 checks amounted to a payoff for the pardon.

Hillary isn't running for President as an outsider, after all. She will use her time in the White House as part of her resumé for the job, and for those who yearn for the Clinton years, it may be a powerful argument. That puts all of the Clinton actions on the table for debate, including crooked pardons that involved payoffs to her brother. She needs to answer for that if she wants to use the legacy of her husband's terms of office as her qualifications for a return to the White House. Voters should consider whether they want to grant the Clintons and their family and friends yet another opportunity to auction off presidential pardons.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 26, 2007 4:49 AM

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» A Peek Inside Hillary's Baggage from Suitably Flip
Captain Ed notes the latest developments in just one of the many shady dealings that serve as backdrop to Hillay Clinton's bid to reclaim to the White House. It's a little ugly, but make no mistake. This isn't smear. This is typical of the apparent ... [Read More]

Tracked on January 26, 2007 8:49 AM


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