IG Report: Pardon Official Failed to Give Accurate Info to White House

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Ronald Rodgers, the head of the U.S. Justice Department’s pardons office, failed to convey key information accurately to the Bush White House on a federal inmate’s plea for early release, the department’s inspector general concluded, reports ProPublica. In the case of Clarence Aaron, the IG found that Rodgers engaged in “conduct that fell substantially short of the high standards expected of Department of Justice employees and the duty he owed the President of the United States.”

Inspector General Michael Horowitz referred his findings to the deputy attorney general for “a determination as to whether administrative action is appropriate.” Rodgers’s advice to Bush, the inspector general said, “was colored by his concern [ ] that the White House might grant Aaron clemency presently and his desire that this not happen.” “The details that emerge from this report about the way the Justice Department handled my client’s case shock me,” said Aaron’s attorney, Margaret Love. “Justice is long overdue for Clarence Aaron, and I hope the president will take immediate action to free him.” The pardons office has come under increased scrutiny since ProPublica and the Washington Post began reporting on race disparity in the selection of pardon recipients as well as the Aaron case.

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