Can Republican’s Pardon The Pardon’s?

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As rumors swirl of his impending 2012 Presidential aspirations, outgoing Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty may face a potential scandal with the recent charges brought upon a convicted sex offender that was pardoned by Pawlenty as part of a 3 member pardons board in 2008. Charged is Jeremy Giefer who was 19 when he was charged in 1993 with having sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend who he did later marry. Giefer had served his time and was a free man when the pardon was granted by the pardons board made up of Governor Pawlenty, Attorney General Lori Swanson and Eric Magnuson, chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. . Giefer is now charged with sexually abusing another girl more than 250 times. Giefer, now 36, of Vernon Center, is charged with 12 felony counts, including five of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. The criminal complaint filed in Blue Earth County District Court on Nov. 18 said the victim told police the abuse began when she was 9 and continued until she was 16.

Pawlenty spokesperson Bruce Gordon said, “The governor has consistently opposed pardons for sex offenders and believes sex offenses are heinous, However, the board made an exception in this case and voted unanimously to pardon this 1994 conviction because it involved sexual conduct between two people who became husband and wife, maintained a long-term marriage, had a family together, and because the defendant completed his sentence many years before seeking the pardon which his wife and others supported.”

The pardon could be an issue if Pawlenty emerges as a serious contender for the 2012 Republican nomination. Rivals would certainly use it as attack fodder to claim Pawlenty is soft on crime while attempting to maintain that he is a staunch conservative. Clemency has tripped up other candidates. The infamous “Willie Horton” TV commercial helped sink the 1988 presidential campaign of Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis. Horton, a convicted killer serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, was released from prison under a weekend furlough program backed by Dukakis, then raped a woman after he failed to return to prison.

Pawlenty may not be the only 2012 GOP candidate with pardon problems. While he was governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee had a role in pardoning or commuting the sentences of more than 1,000 prisoners, including Maurice Clemmons, who killed four Seattle-area police officers in November 2009. Huckabee had made Clemmons eligible for parole. Huckabee’s role in the earlier release of convicted rapist Wayne DuMond, who murdered a woman after being paroled, was the subject of an attack ad during his 2008 presidential run.

Can Republican’s pardon the pardon’s? If they wish to make a serious run at the White House Tim Pawlenty and Mike Huckabee better hope so. With the first primaries more than a year away there is plenty of time for voters to forget. However, political opponents rarely forget so easily and either do elephants. Just ask Michael Dukakis.

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One Response

  1. […] another White House 2012 article entitled Can republicans Pardon the Pardons, Jsmashmouth articulates similar sentiments but he adds that Tim Pawlenty may also have a problem […]

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