Ohio State Rep. To Bush: If You Want To ‘Coddle Criminals,’ Then Pardon Traficant

As soon as President Bush commuted the prison sentence of his former aide, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, attorneys across the country immediately began arguing that their clients deserve “the Libby treatment.”

Yesterday, Ohio State Rep. Bob Hagan (D-Youngstown) sent a letter to President Bush, claiming that his standards for Libby should be applied to another criminally-challenged political figure: former U.S. Congressman James Traficant, who was convicted in 2002 on bribery and racketeering charges. Hagan says that Traficant deserves the same leniency that Libby received:

“If the President is going to coddle criminals in his Administration because he believes they have suffered enough, the least he can do is apply equal justice and release all of those whose crimes had far less impact on the public good than Libby’s,” Rep. Hagan said.[…]

“Libby lied to the FBI and a grand jury about the Valerie Plame cover-up, which undermined the nation’s intelligence operations,” Hagan argued. “Add to that his role as Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff in promoting false reasons for going to war in Iraq — and it all outweighs anything Mr. Traficant has done. […]

“Libby is the first sitting White House official to be indicted in 130 years, and yet he walks away without paying his deserved debt to society.”

Hagan, who previously waged a primary challenge against Traficant, doesn’t actually want President Bush to commute Traficant’s sentence. “They both deserve to be in jail,” Hagan told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

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He has a history of making satirical statments to prove his points. In 2006, when conservatives introduced a bill to ban gay couples from adopting children, Hagan “asked fellow senators to co-sponsor a bill to ban households with one or more Republican voters from adopting children.” Similarly, this past year, when new regulations for strip clubs were debated, “Hagan drafted an amendment to ban lobbyists from touching lawmakers.”

President Bush has yet to respond to Hagan’s request for clemency for Traficant.