Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sorry! Humiliated Bush revokes pardon

One has to wonder what would inspire Bush to pardon such a man at a time when the subprime mortgage crisis - caused by selling mortgages to people who the banks must have known had no way of paying the debt back - has brought the economy to it's knees. The crime in this instance?

Mr Toussie was sued by hundreds of New York residents in 2001 for masterminding a scheme which lured "inexperienced and low-income, inner-city, minority first-time buyers into purchasing homes that they could not afford".

The homes, in working-class areas of Brooklyn, were overpriced by up to 50 per cent and often defective, and the cost of mortgage payments was hidden.

It was extremely odd then for Bush to choose to pardon someone for this particular crime at this particular time. But it gets worse. For Bush has now become the first ever US president to have to rescind a pardon. Why?

But on Christmas Eve, the President was forced to reverse the decision, as newspapers revealed that his father had recently donated almost $30,000 to the Republican Party.

Dana Perino, a White House press secretary, told a news conference that the decision to revoke the pardon, which is unheard of in modern history, was "based on information that has subsequently come to light".

She admitted that the pardon had not met Justice Department guidelines, and said neither the White House counsel's office nor the President had been aware of a political contribution by Mr Toussie's father that: "might create an appearance of impropriety".

The New York Daily News had earlier that day revealed that Mr Toussie's father Robert had made his first ever political donation last April, giving $28,500 (£20,000) to the Republican National Committee. His son's application to receive a pardon was filed just four months later.

That simply beggars belief. Firstly, I find it inconceivable that Bush would want to pardon someone for such a crime at this particular moment in time. Secondly, one would think that anyone to be pardoned would have donations given by their families checked as a matter of course during such a procedure. The fact that this guy was pardoned, only to have the pardon rescinded, simply beggars belief.
"It's, at best, embarrassing. At worst, it's an extraordinary example of this White House's ability to bollocks up one bit of presidential authority that he clearly has," Doug Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University and a close follower of presidential clemency decisions, told the Associated Press.

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