Clinton grants pardon for his drug-offending brother
12:00AM GMT 21 Jan 2001
IN his final executive act as president, Bill Clinton yesterday dramatically pardoned more than 100 Americans including Susan McDougal, his former Whitewater business partner, and Patty Hearst, the former terrorist.
Miss Hearst, the granddaughter of the newspaper baron, William Randolph Hearst, had served three years in prison after joining the left-wing Symbionese Liberation Army that kidnapped her in 1974. Mr Clinton also pardoned his own brother, Roger, who was convicted for cocaine possession in Arkansas and who was among a number of drug offenders that Mr Clinton believed had been punished too harshly.
There was, however, no reprieve for Webster Hubbell, a former partner in Mrs Clinton’s Little Rock law firm who was convicted as a result of the Whitewater investigation. There was also no pardon for the former junk bond king Michael Milken who also served a prison sentence for fraud.
Mr Clinton had delayed announcing the pardons from Friday until yesterday morning. A row over Miss McDougal’s inclusion is thought to have caused the delay. Miss McDougal, a Clinton friend from Arkansas, spent 18 months in prison after refusing to give evidence that might implicate the President and First Lady in a bank fraud while he was the state’s governor.
No one expected Mr Clinton to go quietly, but the final hours of his presidency proved to be as full of drama as a Hollywood film script. The outgoing president’s longest day threatened to overshadow the inauguration ceremonies for George W Bush as arguments raged inside the White House over whether to pardon key figures in investigations into alleged corrupt financial dealings by the Clintons.
Long after Mr Clinton bade an emotional farewell to White House staff on Friday evening, a number of aids are understood to have cautioned Mr Clinton against including Miss McDougal on the list. Her lawyer, Mark Geragos, said he had been told that she was: “Front and centre the main reason,” for the delay in naming those pardoned. After hours of debate, a decision was postponed until yesterday morning, shortly before Mr Bush was due to take the oath of office in Washington.
The events of Mr Clinton’s last full day in office could not have been better staged to steal the headlines from his successor. What is normally a day of formality and farewells was transformed into a series of political dramas, which began with the breakfast dishes barely cleared from the President and First Lady’s table for the last time.
Rumours of the deal that would resolve the threat of criminal charges against Mr Clinton for lying under oath about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, began to sweep Washington. Behind the scenes, White House special counsel Robert Ray was concluding a deal with the president’s lawyer David Kendal that would lift the shadow that has hung over Mr Clinton for the last seven years.
The investigation, which began with the Whitewater land deal and Kenneth Starr, was concluded with the president admitting that he lied while giving evidence in a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by former Little Rock hotel receptionist Paula Jones.
Mr Clinton also agreed to pay a $25,000 fine, a five-year suspension of his licence to practice law in Arkansas, and not to seek the recovery of millions of dollars he has spent in legal fees fighting the investigation. Most significantly, he admitted to “testifying falsely” about his relationship with Miss Lewinsky while she was a White House intern.
Mr Clinton was said to be relieved to have the threat of charges removed after he left office, but upset that his final hours in the White House were once again dominated by the scandals that have dogged his presidency. For much of the rest of Friday, the President and First Lady packed the last of their personal belonging to be moved to their house outside New York.
The White House also released a list of gifts which Mr Clinton had decided to keep, including boxing gloves from the actor Sylvester Stallone, a kitchen table, two carpets and an oil painting of Buddy, his dog. Mr Clinton has not, however, forgiven everyone as it was revealed that Linda Tripp, whose secret recordings of her telephone conversations with Miss Lewinsky confirmed the relationship, has been sacked.
Miss Tripp, who worked at the Pentagon, was reclassified as a political employee after revealing the affair. White House rules require political staff to resign when a president leaves office. She was sacked for refusing to do so.
Even 90 minutes after President Bush had taken the oath of office, the now former president seemed reluctant to leave the Washington stage. Arriving at Andrews Air Force Base to board Air Force One for the flight to New York, Mr Clinton gave an unprecedented departure speech to members of his personal staff, revealing that he had toured the empty rooms of the White House that morning, but emphasising that the political baton had been passed to his wife Hillary in the Senate.
Mr Clinton joked that the loss of his presidential privileges meant: “For the first time in eight years I am in the driving seat.” He then issued what sounded like a warning to his opponents, saying: “I have left the White House, but I’m still here.” In a display of loyalty, Mrs Clinton agreed to accompany her husband on the short trip to their new house in Chappaqua rather than remain in Washington in her new role in the United States Senate.
The Clintons’ headache is back: First brother Roger was paid $100,000 to influence Bill and ex-president bought him house despite IRS demand for his property
Bill Clinton’s half brother Roger, nicknamed ‘headache’ by the Secret Service during Clinton’s presidency, has tried to keep a low-profile as his sister-in-law Hillary positions her family to move back into the White House.
But now it is revealed today that he used his brother-in-law’s name to win a $100,000 consulting contract with a company looking to build houses in Haiti.
And it is also disclosed that he is living in a home that was partly – if not fully – paid for by Bill through a limited liability company registered to the Clintons’ family home in Chappaqua, New York.
The use of such a device was described as having the potential to ‘raise eyebrows’ with the IRS. It was never disclosed by Hillary during her time in office that address was linked to the limited liability company.
Roger Clinton’s antics in the ’90s were a constant source of embarrassment for the first family, culminating in a 2001 congressional investigation over his attempts to ‘cash in’ on his connections to the White House.
The wannabee rock star, who went to prison in 1985 for cocaine abuse and for a time played in a band called Politics, was found to have engaged in ‘serious and reckless misconduct’ the review panel.
He has resurfaced just as Hillary tries to put a troubled start to her campaign for presidency behind her with her first television interview of her candidacy.
Roger currently lives in Los Angeles, California, on an $857,000 property he told the New York Times that he co-owns ’50-50′ with Bill, whom he calls ‘Big Brother.’Roger
‘I put 50 percent of the money into it,’ Roger, 58, told the publication during an interview, conducted at his home.
As the Times points out, if true, that could prove legally problematic for the younger Clinton because he owed the California and federal governments more than $100,000 in unpaid taxes and the IRS was to acquire any ‘property now owned or later acquired’ by him.
The house was purchased in 2009. It says the liens were removed in 2010 and 2011. If Roger did help purchase the property, that would constitute tax evasion.
‘If I was still working at the I.R.S. and someone came to me with this, it would raise eyebrows and trigger me to dig further to find out what exactly was going on,’ David Holtz, a former IRS litigator who lives in Los Angeles, told the Times.
A source familiar with the situation told the publication, however, that Bill Clinton purchased the property through a LLC so that his brother and his teenage nephew would have a place to live but he would not be personally responsible for the home as he would not be living in it.
It’s possible that Roger Clinton could have contributed to the purchase of the home but it is not clear how he would have done that given that the Times found no sustained record of income for him since, other than the $5,000-a-month deal with Living Modular, the company seeking to build low-cost homes in Haiti.
That deal itself raised questions as the man behind it suggested Roger Clinton promised to deliver a contract with his brother’s foundation.
‘I paid Roger $100,000,’ businessman Wayne Coleman said. ‘Basically, he promised to get us a contract through the Clinton Foundation for a project over there. What he was really trying to do was sell the influence of his brother.’
Roger was successful in getting the companies’ model included in an expo that Bill Clinton attended on behalf of The Clinton Foundation.
His brother did not choose to invest in the company’s product, though – a decision Roger talked up to ‘lawyers and advisers’ rather than his brother, whom he said ‘loved’ the effort.
‘You had all this government grant money, and all this money Bill was raising from around the world for reconstruction,’ he told the Times. ‘But we just couldn’t make it happen. It’s like, come on, man, can’t you just throw me a bone?’
Roger Clinton said that ‘seven out of 10 times’ being related to Bill and Hillary worked against him when trying to win major contracts because it would be interpreted as nepotism.
‘I don’t have a choice of being first brother,’ Clinton lamented. ‘It’s not like I’ve been given the option of doing it and I could turn it down. There are times when it’s hard.’
Sources who spoke to the Times said that Roger and his family have long benefited from his big brother’s monetary success in other ways, though.
Bill Clinton reportedly paid for Roger’s grown-up daughter to attend cosmetology school.
And, after leaving the White House, when he worked at investment firm Yucaipa, Bill Clinton is said by a former employee to have regularly written his brother checks.
On another occasion, Roger’s lawyer floated paying out a settlement over a domestic dispute involving two women on Clinton’s property with Bill’s money.
Bill and Hillary Clinton’s siblings have been accused on numerous occasions of trying to profit off of their relationships with the political power couple, and usually inappropriately.
Hillary’s older brother Hugh pocketed $400,000 from a Democratic Party donor – that he was later forced to give back – after he successfully lobbied Bill to commute the federal prison sentence of the donor’s drug-dealing son.
Her younger brother, Tony Rodham, also convinced Bill to grant a presidential pardon that he said he wasn’t paid to lobby for but a congressional investigation later found that he was.
He’s continued to ride the coattails of his brother-in-law, using the Clinton Foundation as a means to an ends of his own contracts in Haiti.
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