Politics

FLASHBACK: Roger Clinton Took Cash to Ask Brother for Presidential Pardons

Bill Clinton's brother arrested for DUI on Sunday night

Redondo Beach Police Department mugshot of Roger Clinton from June 5, 2016 / AP

Roger Clinton received hundreds of thousands of dollars from felons during his brother Bill Clinton's presidency to help them obtain presidential pardons, according to a congressional report released in 2002.

The House Government Reform Committee found during an investigation launched following the conclusion of the Clinton administration that the younger Clinton took "at least $335,000 in unexplained travelers checks" in exchange for speaking to his brother on behalf of  individuals seeking pardons.

"With President Clinton's encouragement, his half brother, Roger, collected hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby on behalf of as many as 13 people seeking presidential pardons and other favors, a key congressional panel has found," the Los Angeles Times reported in 2002.

The investigation was launched after then-committee chairman Rep. Dan Burton (R., Ind.) was notified that Clinton urged the pardon of felons such as Carlos Vignali Jr., who was in the midst of a 15-year prison sentence for getting caught trafficking 800 pounds of cocaine, according to a 2001 CNN report.

The Clinton administration did not deny that Roger Clinton asked for pardons but argued that the effort by Roger Clinton fell short of "lobbying" and that no money was exchanged.

"He did not lobby the president," said a White House aide at the time. "He personally asked his brother and asked just once, if he would look at a list." The aide said that Roger Clinton made a personal appeal for his brother to grant clemency to "about five or six" friends and acquaintances.

The report said that President Clinton instructed his brother to make money based on his ability to make those personal appeals.

"President Clinton encouraged Roger Clinton to capitalize on their relationship," the report said. "At the beginning of his second term, President Clinton instructed Roger Clinton to use his connections to the administration to gain financial advantage."

It wasn't only Roger Clinton. Hillary Clinton's brother Hugh Rodman took $400,000 for work he did to convince the White House to grant pardons, according to the Washington Post.

Neither Bill nor Hillary Clinton denied those payments. They both said that they were "deeply disturbed" by the news and asked that the money be returned. They also both said that they were unaware of the payments.

Roger Clinton was himself the recipient of a presidential pardon for a cocaine possession charge he received in 1985. He was arrested on DUI charges earlier this year and on drunk driving suspicions in 2001.

He was also sued in 2012 after standing by as a woman he paid to come to his house was beaten by a separate woman with a frying pan.

The woman, pictured below, was offered $150 to come to Clinton's house and "cook rice for him," according to a Daily Mail report.

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