FBI Dump Suggests Marc Rich Won Bill Clinton Pardon with Cash
Newly released investigative file details the Clintons' history of bending the law for donors
Former President Bill Clinton bent the rules and the law for donors in a questionable quest to get a fugitive billionaire pardoned.
That was the chief takeaway from an FBI investigative document released Tuesday by the law enforcement agency.
The FBI also noted that Eric Holder … was the only Justice Department attorney contacted about the coming pardon when Rich’s attorney, Jack Quinn, called him.
On Tuesday, the FBI released a heavily redacted 129-page document it began compiling in 2001 after former President Bill Clinton pardoned the late Marc Rich, an American citizen and Swiss resident who fled to Europe after a 1983 investigation into his finances.
Rich was accused of mail fraud, wire fraud, tax evasion, and racketeering. Rich and businessman Pincus Green were also indicted for doing business with Iran after the Shiite regime took 52 hostages at the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979.
Over the years, someone associated with Rich — reportedly his ex-wife, Denise Rich — gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Democratic National Committee in soft money contributions.
Denise Rich also gave money to the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation, which was tasked with building his Arkansas library.
Those donations caught the attention of the FBI, ethics watchdogs, and Clinton critics when Clinton pardoned Marc Rich and Green on Jan. 20, 2001 — the last day of his presidency.
The pardon caused an uproar, as Rich had fled justice. Media and critics immediately linked the pardons to Denise Rich's donations. Congressional hearings were soon held, and the FBI showed up to take notes, according to the document.
While there was little Congress could do to reverse the full and unconditional pardon that Rich got, the FBI pursued Clinton on questions of taking money for pardons. Perhaps most damning in discovery is the finding that none of the usual procedures for a pardon were followed.
The admission was made by Roger Adams, the former U.S. pardon attorney, before Congress.
The FBI also noted that Eric Holder, President Obama's former attorney general from 2009 to 2015, was the only Justice Department attorney contacted about the coming pardon when Rich's attorney, Jack Quinn, called him.
The FBI appears to have gone further than expected with the investigation than many thought.
A grand jury was convened in March 2001, likely by the former U.S. attorney for Southern New York.
Calls and visits were made to London and Bern, Switzerland.
The FBI's Public Corruption Unit handled the case.
Nothing ever came of the investigation and the FBI dropped the issue. And the documents are reportedly just a portion of the investigation.
But Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who did not apparently factor into the investigation, now has to explain the issue anew. As of Tuesday afternoon, the Clinton campaign was already attacking the FBI for releasing the documents on its website.
It is not known if the FBI was reacting to a court order or a Freedom of Information Act request to post the documents on its public "vault" site.
Rich died in Switzerland in 2013.