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ARONOFF Pardon Me Hillary
by Roger Aronoff
[filmmaker, writer] 8/17/06

Remember Jimmy Carter's buffoonish brother Billy, known for "Billy Beer" and dealing with Libyan dictator Gadhafi? Well, Hillary Clinton has a brother, too, and, as reported in the Washington Times, Anthony D. "Tony" Rodham was named recently in an Alexandria, Virginia bankruptcy court filing that could boomerang on Hillary herself as she prepares her presidential run. The Tony Rodham story, in which he is accused of being paid and loaned hundreds of thousand of dollars to lobby for presidential pardons, could resurrect numerous Clinton scandals.

Roger Aronoff

Roger Aronoff directed and co-wrote the documentary, “Confronting Iraq: Conflict and Hope.” He is a media analyst with Accuracy in Media. [go to Arnoff index]

The media's blackout of this story demonstrates how Senator Clinton is once again benefiting from the protection provided by the mainstream media. At the very least, she ought to be asked what she thinks of her brother's legal predicament. And if she won't answer, they should ask Bill Clinton about it.

The story takes us back to the end of husband Clinton's second term in office, when he made a number of very dubious pardons, some for significant amounts of cash. Hillary's brother Tony had received $244,769 in salary, and loans totaling over $100,000 from people who were granted presidential pardons. According to the suit, he didn't pay them back.

The bankruptcy filings are for a carnival company based in Tennessee, United Shows, which originally filed for bankruptcy protection in 2002. In a related document filed last year, Rodham was said to have "received the benefit of the loans without making any repayment." According to the Times, he claimed to work for the company as a consultant. He denied that any money he took was to lobby the White House, or seek pardons. The owners of the company were Edgar Gregory, Jr. and his wife Vonna Jo Gregory, who were both "convicted of bank fraud in 1982 on charges of illegally giving loans to friends." Mr. Gregory died in 2004.

In 2002, The House Government Reform Committee issued a report titled "Justice Undone: Clemency Decisions in the Clinton White House." The report said that Tony Rodham used his influence to seek pardons for the Gregorys, and received nearly $250,000 in salary and $79,000 in loans from them. It said that the loans were consolidated into a single note, due in December 2001. The committee said that Mr. Gregory had no documentation detailing the work that Rodham supposedly had performed.

Hillary's other brother, Hugh Rodham, an attorney, ended up returning about $400,000 that he had received "for lobbying for a presidential pardon and prison commutation for two clients," the Times said. 

Clinton's most famous pardon was given to fugitive financier Marc Rich. That was apparently the first time that someone who had fled the country and remained a fugitive, rather than face justice, had received a presidential pardon. A 2005 article from Business Week provided a detailed account of what Rich had done, and how he has schemed and manipulated his way to an estimated net worth of $8 billion, by skillfully trading with every outlaw regime, including Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

Before he was pardoned, his companies pled guilty to 78 counts of fraud and corruption and paid more than $150 million in fines. But when he couldn't negotiate a deal to pay up to another $100 million in fines for tax evasion and other white collar crimes, in order to stay out of jail, he refused to come back to the U.S. In the meantime, his ex-wife Denise Rich raised over $1 million and gave it to the Democratic National Committee, plus tens of thousands more to the Clinton legal defense fund, the Clinton Library, and other such causes.

These are some of the issues that could hang over Mrs. Clinton's presidential ambitions, if the media should choose to examine them. But that's a big "if." CRO

copyright 2006 Accuracy in Media www.aim.org




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