GUEST COLUMN, Dick Morris
It goes beyond chutzpah, arrogance, and myopia. Former Attorney General Eric Holder has dared to condemn President Trump’s decision to pardon anti-Obama author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, saying he was not a “good candidate” for a pardon.
This is the same Holder who, signed off on Bill Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich — a fugitive — after his wife, Denise, donated $450,000 too Clinton’s presidential library foundation and over $100,000 to Hillary’s Senate campaign. Rich was convicted of not paying $48 million in taxes and of illegally selling oil to Iran in violation of sanctions.
Former Democratic congressman and staunch Clinton defender Barney Frank (D-MA) said of the Rich pardon, “I was very angry about it. It was a real betrayal by Bill Clinton of all who had been strongly supportive of him to do something this unjustified. It was contemptuous.”
In addition, Holder OKed the pardons of:
Susan McDougal, Clinton’s business partner who served 16 months in prison for refusing to tell the truth about the president’s involvement in the Whitewater scandal.
Harvey Weinig, a lawyer who laundered $19 million for Colombia drug kingpins. Weinig was related to a White House staffer.
Sixteen convicted Puerto Rican terrorists affiliated with the FALN who were responsible for six deaths including law enforcement officers. Particularly loathsome was their bombing of Fraunces Tavern that killed four including Frank Connor, whose son Joseph Connor has recently published a wonderful and moving book, Shattered Lives about the impact of the bombing on his family.
Edgar and Donna Jo Gregory, convicted of bank fraud, they retained Hillary’s bother Tony to lobby for their pardons, paying him $325,000.
Carlos Vignali, a major drug kingpin. Hugh Rodham, Hillary’s brother, got $400,000 from attorney Glenn Graswell to lobby for Vignali’s pardon.
By contrast, Dinesh Disouza was convicted of a non-violent, white collar crime of using straw donors to contribute $20,000 to a candidate for US Senate in New York State. He was sentenced to pay a $30,000 fine, five years probation, and eight months in a supervised “community confinement center.”
The key question that has loomed over the D’Souza case is whether or not he was specifically targeted for prosecution on this relatively minor campaign finance violation. Since the donations appeared under names other than D’Souza’s – the entire premise of the case – it is hard to see how the “crime” came to prosecutors’ attention in the first place. It would seem that the investigation would have had to be a very extensive one, encompassing are review, not only of the candidate’s campaign finance disclosure, but of D’Souza’s bank accounts as well.
Why would a $20,000 donation – when billions are spent on political campaigns each cycle – be worth such investigative time and resources?
The obvious answer is that he was targeted by President Obama and his political operatives in retaliation for his books and movies. In particular, D’Souza wrote The Roots of Obama’s Rage in 2010, tracing the president’s ideology back to his father’s anti-colonialism in Kenya. The best seller led D’Souza to produce the 2016 film: Obama’s America role in producing the 2016 film Hillary’s America, that became the second highest grossing political documentary and the sixth best selling documentary of all time. His strongly anti-Obama books may well have played a role in his prosecution.
D’Souza himself said the prosecution was a “vindictive political hit aimed at putting me out of business.”
Holder, for his part, played the key role in Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich. Justin Peters, writing in Slate, recounts that Holder was “instrumental” in the pardon process. “As deputy AG,” Peters writes:
Holder was in charge of advising he president on the merits of various petitions for pardon. Jack Quinn, a lawyer for Rich, approached Holder about clemency for his client. Quinn was a confidant of Al Gore, then a candidate for president; Holder had ambitions of being named attorney general in a Gore administration. A report from the House Committee on Government Reform on the Rich debacle later concluded that Holder must have decided that cooperating in the Rich matter could pay dividends later on.
Peters reports that the House Government Reform Committee later concluded that “Holder and Quinn did an end-around, bringing the pardon to Clinton directly and avoiding any chance that Justice colleagues might give negative input.”
That this man should criticize President Trump for pardoning D’Souza when no cash changed hands and no donations were involved is the ultimate act of hypocrisy, and if Holder could ever be ashamed of himself, now would be the time.