FBI surprises again, shares files on Bill Clinton pardon of Marc Rich – USA Today
“This initial release consists of material from the FBI’s files related to the William J. Clinton Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization,” reads a statement on the FBI records vault website. “The bulk of these records come from a 2001 FBI investigation into the pardon of Marc Rich (1934-2013), aka Marcell David Reich, by President Clinton in 2001; it was closed in 2005. The material is heavily redacted due to personal privacy protections and grand jury secrecy rules.”
Rich, who died in 2013, was a financier who fled to Switzerland after being indicted on multiple federal charges, including tax evasion, in 1983. Clinton’s motive for pardoning Rich on his last day in office was questioned because Rich’s ex-wife, Denise Rich, was a wealthy Democratic donor who made a $450,000 donation to Clinton’s presidential library foundation and more than $100,000 to Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign.
In a statement, the FBI said that any material requested three or more times under the Freedom of Information Act is automatically made available to the public online on a “first in, first out basis.”
FBI Surprises With Files on Clinton ’01 Pardon of Marc Rich – Bloomberg
The FBI unexpectedly released 129 pages of documents related to an investigation closed without charges in 2005 into President Bill Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich, who had been married to a wealthy Democratic donor.
The file was posted online Monday but received little attention until the FBI noted it in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon. It comes as Director James Comey faces fire from Democrats and even some Republicans for releasing information about his renewed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of e-mail.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it automatically posts materials online when documents have been requested three or more times. The bureau receives thousands of information requests annually and processes them on a “first in, first out” basis, according to a statement.
While the files may seem dated, they invoke figures beyond the Clintons who went on to play key roles in official Washington — including Comey.
He served as prosecutor in charge of a legal case against Rich from 1987 to 1993. As the U.S. attorney in Manhattan in 2002, Comey took over a criminal investigation of Clinton’s pardons. “I was stunned” at the Rich pardon, Comey wrote in a letter to lawmakers in 2008.
Also playing roles were former Attorney General Eric Holder, who was a deputy attorney general advising on pardon requests at the time, and current Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White, who was a U.S. prosecutor.
A congressional investigation later found that Clinton didn’t follow standard protocol but there was no proof of a quid pro quo. Denise Rich invoked her constitutional right against self-incrimination during the investigation. Her ex-husband, Marc, died in 2013.
Clinton camp questions FBI release of Marc Rich pardon files – Politico
“It appears that the required pardon standards and procedures were not followed,” the internal FBI memos said.
Indeed, the request for a pardon for Marc Rich and his business partner, Pincus Green, did not go through normal channels at the Justice Department but was sent directly to the White House. However, presidents are free to grant executive clemency outside the Justice Department channel and many presidents have done so.
The investigation was eventually handed off to Comey, who was White’s successor as U.S. attorney. Comey elected not to seek any charges in the case.
Suspicion about the Clinton-related release was also fueled by a Tweet sent out by on an “FBI Records Vault” account that was dormant for about a year before suddenly springing to life on Oct. 30.
A law enforcement official who asked not to be named said that the account was dormant due to issues with the FBI’s content management system and that a series of stored-up Tweets went out Sunday after patches to the system were completed. “They are automatic tweets,” the official said.