Today, a coalition of organizations including Protect Democracy, Free Speech For People, and others sent a letter to Congressman Adam Schiff, who has introduced a bill designed to improve transparency in presidential pardons. The key part of Schiff’s bill says:
In the event that the President grants an individual a pardon for an offense against the United States that arises from an investigation in which the President, or a relative of the President, is a target, subject, or witness, not later than 30 days after the date of such pardon, the Attorney General shall submit to the chairmen and ranking members of the appropriate congressional committees all materials of an investigation that were obtained by a United States Attorney, another Federal prosecutor, or an investigative authority of the Federal Government, relating to the offense for which the individual is so pardoned.
As our letter explains, this legislation is a critical first step toward preventing the abuse of the pardon power. However, we have suggested four areas where the bill should be strengthened:
- expanding the types of pardons to include other types of self- protective pardons;
- requiring the disclosure of “dangled” pardons;
- imposing the disclosure requirement on the White House Counsel’s office in addition to the Attorney General; and
- in certain cases, automating the appointment of a private attorney where the Department of Justice abandons an ongoing prosecution in light of a presidential pardon.
Read the letter.
For more information:
- Learn about our court challenge to the pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio
- Read our Legal Director Ron Fein’s op-eds in the Washington Post (with Professor Laurence Tribe) and TIME (with former Nixon White House counsel John Dean) on why pardoning Arpaio was an abuse of the pardon power
- Watch a 5 minute video on why pardoning Arpaio was an abuse of the pardon power
- Read chapter 5 (Abusing the Pardon Power) of The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump