The Bush Pardons Begin

The moment many have been anticipating has arrived: Bush has begun the traditional end-of-term presidential pardons. In today’s first round, he granted 14 pardons and two commutations, but none of the possible big names—Plame outer Scooter Libby, junk bond king Michael Milliken, or Republican congressmen in prison for corruption—were among them. Instead, small-time criminals got their criminal records wiped clean of convictions for drug dealing, bank embezzling, and improper food stamp use. “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh and imprisoned media baron Conrad Black also have petitioned the Justice Department’s Office of the U.S. Pardon Attorney, but they might not be as lucky as those pardoned today: “Bush has not been known to be generous with his power to wave away a criminal record,” The Hill reports “The president has now pardoned 171 individuals and commuted sentences for eight people, a relatively small number compared to past administrations.”