Skip to main content

Roger Clinton now target of pardon probe

Sen. Clinton expresses "extreme disappointment" Thursday in her brother's involvement in a presidential clemency case  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- House Government Reform Committee Chairman Dan Burton, R-Indiana, said Thursday his committee has information that former President Clinton's half-brother Roger Clinton represented people seeking pardons from the president.

"The committee has received reports that you were involved in representing individuals seeking pardons from President Clinton," Burton wrote in a letter to Roger Clinton.

Burton also asked Clinton if he got paid for representing anyone seeking a pardon.

Burton's letter asked the brother of the former president to specifically describe "any role" he played in the pardon or commutation requests of Phillip Young, Carlos Vignali Jr., Almon Glenn Braswell, Joe McKernan and Mitchell Couey Wood.

Young was found guilty of fish and wildlife violations in Louisiana; Wood served a sentence for conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine in Arkansas; Vignali was sentenced to a 15-year term stemming from the transport of 800 pounds of cocaine; and Braswell was convicted of fraud and other crimes related to false claims about a treatment for baldness. No information was available on McKernan.

The Clinton Years

Burton also asked Roger Clinton to turn over to the committee "any pardon or commutation requests you have worked on, including, but not limited to, financial records and billing records."

Julia Payne, an aide to former President Clinton, acknowledged to CNN that Roger Clinton once made a personal appeal for clemency by handing his half-brother a list of "about five or six" friends and acquaintances, and asking the president to consider them.

"He did not lobby the president," Payne said. "He personally asked his brother and asked just once, if he would look at a list."

She added that Roger Clinton never received money for his appeal. None of the people on the list were granted clemency. Payne said it was the first time Roger Clinton had asked his half-brother for such consideration, and she rejected reports he had done so in the past.

President Clinton pardoned 140 people, including Roger Clinton for a drug conviction, and commuted the sentence of 36 others in his last hours as president.

Roger Clinton was charged Wednesday with driving while intoxicated and disorderly conduct after an incident last weekend in Hermosa Beach, California.

Braswell and Vignali paid Hugh Rodham, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's brother, for his role in helping secure clemency from then-President Clinton.

The former president acknowledged Wednesday that his brother-in-law, Hugh Rodham, had been paid almost $400,000 for legal work on applicants for presidential clemency for both Vignali and Braswell.

Most of Rodham's fees have been returned to his clients, according to his attorney.

A source close to Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, who is leading the pardons investigation for the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CNN that Specter has instructed his staff to look into Rodham's involvement in the clemency orders granted by Clinton.

Congress to get some pardon documents

Burton's committee is running into resistance from another target of the pardon probe.

An attorney for former President Bill Clinton's library foundation promised to provide some, but not all, of the information requested by the House panel investigating Clinton's pardon of billionaire financier Marc Rich.

The committee subpoenaed the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation earlier this month, seeking information on anyone who made contributions or pledges larger than $5,000.

Grand jury subpoenas Clinton pardon records
February 22, 2001
Justice objected to clemency for client of Hillary Clinton's brother
February 22, 2001
New controversy emerges in Clinton pardons
February 21, 2001
Head of Rich Foundation defends pardon
February 20, 2001
Schumer unconvinced by Clinton's explanation of Rich pardon
February 19, 2001
Clinton: No 'quid pro quo' for Rich pardon
February 18, 2001
Clinton's eight reasons for Rich pardon
February 18, 2001
House panel issues subpoenas in Rich probe
February 16, 2001
Profile: Mary Jo White United States attorney
February 16, 2001
Pardon charges could be hard to prove
February 15, 2001
House focuses on Clinton staff in pardon probe
February 15, 2001

Senate Judiciary Committee

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.


4:30pm ET, 4/16

Back to the top