San Diego Union-Tribune

21-Jan-2001 Sunday 
(Page A-9 )

  Clinton OKs stack of pardons before exit
    Frees cash to put last of 110,000 cops on streets 


WASHINGTON -- Bill Clinton finished his presidency with a final flurry of actions that included granting 140 pardons, 36 commutations and $100 million for a pet project -- hiring more police.

The pardons and commutations contained several names with close ties to the out-going president. They include his brother, Roger Clinton, who in 1985 pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute cocaine, and Susan McDougal, who
was convicted of four felonies for acts connected to the Whitewater land development deal in which Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton were heavily involved.

He also pardoned Henry Cisneros, his first housing secretary, and John Deutch, a former deputy defense secretary and CIA director.

Cisneros was convicted of lying to the FBI about payments to a former mistress. He now is developing low-cost housing projects, including one in San Diego.

Deutch was facing possible indictment for mishandling national secrets on his home computer and was considering a plea-bargain arrangement that would have resulted in a misdemeanor conviction.

Also pardoned were newspaper heiress Patty Hearst, who was convicted of bank robbery with the Symbionese Liberation Army in the 1970s, and former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington, a Republican whose convictions of bank fraud
had been overturned on appeal but might have been retried.

President Carter had commuted Hearst's prison sentence; Clinton's pardon effectively removed the conviction.

Some prominent names mentioned for pardons did not get one: Webster Hubbell, the former deputy attorney general who was convicted as an outgrowth of the Whitewater investigation; Wall Street junk bond dealer Michael Milken; Leonard Peltier, who was convicted of killing two FBI
agents at a shootout at Wounded Knee, South Dakota; former Sen. Harrison Williams of New Jersey, convicted in 1980 as a result of the FBI's Abscam corruption investigation; and Jonathan Pollard, a former Navy analyst
imprisoned for spying for Israel.

While President Bush might overturn some of Clinton's 11th-hour regulatory and executive actions, pardons are irreversible.

The departing president released more than $100 million to top off his pledge to put 100,000 additional police officers on the streets. In his final radio address to the nation yesterday morning, Clinton said the money would hire 1,400 more officers, bringing the program total to 110,000 --
"110 percent of our goal."

And Clinton announced the designation of one more national monument, protecting from development a 20-acre portion of Governor's Island in New York harbor containing two 19th century forts. Unlike the 18 monuments he
has named in the West -- over the angry protests of Republican lawmakers and local officials -- this one was not controversial.

Among those whose prison sentences were commuted by Clinton on his last day in office was Peter MacDonald, a 72-year-old Navajo leader who had helped protect U.S. secrets from the Japanese during World War II. Long after the war, he become a champion of tribal sovereignty and was convicted in the aftermath of a bloody 1989 riot at Window Rock, Ariz.

Others whose prison sentences were commuted:

Former Rep. Melvin J. Reynolds of Chicago, who had been convicted on charges of bank fraud, campaign abuses and having sex with an underage campaign worker.

Susan Rosenberg, a 1970s activist who was sentenced to 58 years in prison for her participation in the bungled 1981 Brink's armored car robbery that left two policemen and a guard dead in Rockland County, N.Y. In prison, Rosenberg has renounced all radical activity and been a model

Linda Sue Evans, 53, who was sentenced to 40 years in prison for her part in a conspiracy to stage a bombing at the U.S. Capitol in 1983 to protest the U.S. invasion of Grenada, as well as for illegally buying firearms.

Finally freed from the Whitewater scandal, McDougal told The Associated Press: "I am so grateful. There are tears down my face right now, I don't think I stopped crying since I saw the announcement."

A lesser-known Whitewater figure, Stephen A. Smith, also was pardoned.  Smith, a former aide to Clinton when he was Arkansas governor, had been convicted of a misdemeanor in 1995 in the Whitewater probe.