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Felons seeking pardons before Bush leaves office: report

[JURIST] Many convicted felons, including several well-known figures, are seeking clemency from US President George W. Bush before he leaves office, according to a Washington Post report Monday. Among those said to have applied are financier Michael Milken [Forbes profile; personal website], former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham [JURIST report] and former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards [official profile]. Presidential pardons are granted under Article II section 2 [text] of the US Constitution which gives the president the "power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment." The US Department of Justice Office of the Pardon Attorney [official website] accepts clemency applications for Presidential review and determines if the applicants meet the necessary requirements [Executive Clemency Rules, text].

Bush has so far granted [DOJ statistics, JURIST report] 157 applications for clemency during his term in office. In an controversial move [JURIST backgrounder], former President Bill Clinton granted pardons [materials] or sentence commutations to his brother Roger Clinton, Whitewater partner Susan McDougal, business partners Marc Rich and Pincus Green, former Director of Central Intelligence John Deutch and 135 others [AP report] just before leaving office in January 2001.

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