On Christmas eve, the White House took the unprecedented step of revoking President Bush’s pardon of housing scam artist Isaac Toussie after media reports revealed a number of improprieties in the case. Attempting to explain the move, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said Toussie’s pardon had not been reviewed by the pardon attorney because “it was filed less than five years from completion of his sentence” and Bush wanted the attorney to “have an opportunity to review this case before a decision on clemency is made.”
In an interview with Fox News on Friday, former Bush adviser Karl Rove echoed Perino and claimed that the Toussie family’s hefty donations to the GOP had nothing to do with the pardon. Rove also said that the fact that Toussie’s offense occurred “less than five years ago” was a factor in the reversal:
ROVE: I think the information that was alluded to was the nature of the offense, the death of the offense, and the fact that it happened less than five years ago. Generally pardons and commutations, except in rare instances, are not granted within five years after the offense.
Rove’s claim that pardons and commutations are “not granted within five years after the offense” is ironic in face of the fact that Bush commuted Scooter Libby’s sentence just four months after he was convicted and before he served any time. At the time, Bush’s statement on the commutation of Libby’s sentence was not described as a “rare instance,” but as “an appropriate exercise” of the president’s power of clemency.