Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And so the pardons begin...

From Newsweek -

(WASHINGTON) President George W. Bush has granted pardons to 14 individuals and commuted the prison sentences of two others convicted of misdeeds including drug offenses, tax evasion, wildlife violations and bank embezzlement.

The new round of White House pardons announced Monday are Bush's first since March and come less than two months before he will end his presidency. The crimes committed by those on the list also include offenses involving hazardous waste, food stamps, and the theft of government property.

There were a a few interesting names and crimes on the list, but nothing too earth-shattering came up when I did a little research in a few of them.

Then I came across the name "William Hoyle McCright, Jr."

He was convicted of bank fraud in the early 1980s after he was caught lying on bank reports and misapplying bank funds while he was the Executive Vice President of the First National Bank of Midland, Texas. (Information on his convictions and partially successful appeal of those convictions here, courtesy Justia.com)

Let's be clear here - I'm not accusing the Bushies of playing favorites by pardoning somebody for his strong Republican ties, but...

...His bank eventually failed (1983), at least in part due to the bad loans made under McCright's auspices, much like Silverado Savings and Loan did under the guidance of W's brother Neil later in the decade...

...According to the FEC, McCright gave $700 to John McCain's failed presidential bid this year...

...One of McCright's partners in the crimes that he was pardoned for, Jim Eastup, is an active Texas Republican, even serving as a campaign treasurer for a county treasurer candidate there (documentation on page 24 of this .pdf )...

...Another of McCright's partners in the crime, Sam Conner (and his wife, Nancy) are contributors to the RNC (according to the FEC)...

...Conner was also one who smeared John Kerry's service in Vietnam, helping Bush's 2004 reelection efforts...

And that's all after a cursory search. Something tells me that with a little more patience, I could find some serious dirt here.

However, as brazenly partisan as this pardon seems, it still isn't as cringe-worthy as Bill Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich in 2001.

However2, give it time - I have plenty of faith in the Bushies and their ability to maintain their status as the "most corrupt presidential administration in history."

Snarky Note: During my research for this post, I came across this website for the George W. Bush Presidential Library, proposed for the campus of Southern Methodist University. Given SMU's past ethics issues (i.e. - NCAA 'death penalty' for repeated football recruiting violations), why not just set up a couple of bar stools in front of the magazine rack at a local Wal-Mart?

It's less expensive and more intellectually appropriate, and it would reduce the number of criminals (pardon recipients are still criminals, just unpunished ones) coming into contact with the students of a once-proud (and perhaps future-proud) university.

Less Snarky Note: McCright is listed as the president of a Texas corporation, H&M Production, Inc. A visit to the Texas Secretary of State's website revealed that one has to pay to search their corporate records online. For 'free' access to the records, a call to the TXSOS's office is necessary.

And given the rather "non-profit" nature of the operation here, a phone call was all the budget could handle. :))

After that phone call, however, I don't know much more than I did before the call.

According to the operator at TXSOS, H&M is an active corporation (no website that I could find), it was incorporated in 1993, McCright is the only officer listed in the paperwork, it has a Midland, Texas address, and the records don't list what the business does.

Because I couldn't *see* the records, I couldn't follow any threads connecting H&M to other entities, but I've got other feelers out.

Another take on this topic, particularly the pardon of McCright, from Harper's Magazine.

More later...

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