Individuals seeking a pardon from the president are instructed to do so through an application that can be found on the Department of Justice website. The Pardon Attorney, Ronald L. Rodgers, then reviews the applications and makes a recommendation to the president.
But White House Press Secretary Dana Perino told reporters yesterday that Rodgers “was not involved in the decision about Toussie.” The official reason given by the White House was that — because Toussie’s application “was filed less than five years after Toussie completed his sentence” — he was ineligible for a pardon per DoJ guidelines and had to instead be considered by the White House counsel’s office as a special case. That explanation contradicts the assurances that Perino had been giving reporters for months about the pardon process:
PERINO: “I would not comment on the pardon process — except for to say that anyone who is eligible for a pardon can apply for one, and those requests go through our pardon attorney, which is at the Justice Department.” [12/3/08]
PERINO: “We never discuss pardons and the process. Of course, anybody who is eligible to request a pardon can do so, and they are given due consideration at the Justice Department, at the Office of the Pardon Attorney.” [11/19/08]
PERINO: “We never comment on pardons. People who are eligible to apply for a pardon can do so through the pardon attorney at the Department of Justice. And we don’t comment on the deliberations that are underway.” [11/18/08]
Perino misled reporters and the public by suggesting that pardons would be granted to “anyone who is eligible” by applying through the pardon attorney. Of course, if you’re a real estate scam artist who gave family contributions to Republicans and hired a former White House counsel as your attorney, the rules don’t apply.