There are plenty of candidates for the president’s final pay-off
Looking beyond the upcoming election to the last few days of Barack Obama’s legal status as a president, it’s interesting to speculate who he might pardon from their past criminal behaviors, whether indicted, convicted, incarcerated or released, or whether they are just under investigation. Typically, pardons are done on the very last day a president is in office — for good reason, in that they are arbitrary and unregulated political acts.
One one hand, the presidential pardon process is pure politics — Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, for example — and on the other hand, it can express a general policy: We might see further evidence of President Obama’s views on the federal imprisonment of nonviolent drug offenders in the last batch of people he pardons.
Sometimes, it’s just family: Bill Clinton pardoned brother Roger Clinton for his drug conviction.
But we have also been through several recent and rather massive investigations of mostly political behaviors and alleged cover-ups that some believe involve criminal conduct at the margins, let alone other clear violations of law that have resulted in convictions, but nevertheless all of them in mostly political contexts.