ProPublica: Obama's clemency rate lowest in decades

President grants fewer pardons than recent Republican presidents
Tom Jackson
Mar 6, 2013


By Cora Currier

ProPublica, March 5, 2013

On Friday, President Obama pardoned 17 people. But despite the new pardons, the Obama administration has still granted clemency more rarely than any president in recent history.

Indeed, the day before the pardons were announced, a Department of Justice spokesman said, Obama had denied 314 other applicants.

A ProPublica analysis of Justice Department statistics last November found that Obama had granted pardons at a lower rate than Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, or George W. Bush had at the same point in their administrations.

Obama has now granted a total of 39 pardons and denied 1,333.

The people pardoned on Friday – including a mother of two in Honolulu who had faced the possibility of deportation due to a 1996 conviction and a fishing company executive who went to prison in 1991 for a bid-rigging scam – will not have their records wiped clean. But pardons do allow convicted criminals to restore their rights to vote, buy firearms, and open up other opportunities closed to them by their records.

Pardons are largely processed based on recommendations from the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney. As we reported in November, recommendations in favor of pardons have been rare during Obama's presidency.

The president also has the power to commute sentences – a privilege Obama has used only once.

After ProPublica and the Washington Post detailed the commutation case of Clarence Aaron, the Justice Department's inspector general criticized the pardon attorney, Ronald L. Rodgers, for failing to convey key information about the case to the White House.

The report concluded that Rodgers had engaged in "conduct that fell substantially short of the high standards expected of Department of Justice employees and the duty he owed the President of the United States."

Our 2011 investigation of pardons data from 2001 to 2008 also found that whites were four times as likely to be pardoned as minorities, prompting a Justice Department study

(ProPublica offers "Journalism in the Public Interest." This story also is available here.)



The Big Dog's back

Could it be that there are more Repub criminals?


Nah. Too busy campaigning and demagoguing Repubs in between playing golf and goin' on vaca to be bothered with such trivial details.


At least he doesn't take vacation as often as Bush did. W was actually out of the office more days than he was IN the office prior to 9/11. Republican politicians do a good enough job making themselves look bad, so there isn't much need to lay that at Obama's feet, ya know? ;)


You are aware its been 4 years since he has been in office?

Darwin's choice

You're go to drown in the koolade....and jimmy carter is still sending obama thank you cards.


@ coasterfan:

Ever been to Crawford, TX? It sure ain't no Hawaii.

Coasterfan's Law: If Obama is mentioned, bring up Bush. :)

So what kinda caca did you teach?


What's your point? W was from Crawford and Obama from Hawaii. Should he be at fault for the weather? The neo-con's law is to whine, whine, whine everytime Obama's name is mentioned. What coasterfan said is true, W did spend a lot of time on vacation. None of you whiners complained about his vacations, his debt, his wars or his abuse of the word "nuclear".


@ deertracker:

Coasterfan brought up GWB.

GWB was born in CT, lived in TX. BHO was born in HI and lives in IL.

Didja notice that the article is about BHO?

I know your usual Neanderthal refrain: Bush bad, Obama good. This is 2013, who's POTUS???

Got any money in the rising market or are you afraid it'll be "stolen" again? lol


He has vacationed in Chicago. Turn the channel pooh!


The point lil' Punkin' : GWB home was in TX - saved the taxpayers $

BHO home ain't in HI - costing taxpayers $.

What; you don't watch CNBC? Guess by foolishly relying on the govt. to save your sorry tush in retirement you wouldn't. :)


@contango......kindergarden gym class....thats what he


@ arnmcrmn:

Yea, I've sometimes pondered why BHO doesn't vaca in Chicago. The Democrat controlled city and state are deep in debt and they could certainly use the $.

A lota people go to Chicago to shop around Watertower Place and hang out during Christmas.

This imperial president is like the Jeffersons: Movin' on Up.


Would it make you happy if he was more like James Evans? Hangin' in the chow line?


Who the H*ll is JE? Change the channel. lol

At least the fictional Geo. Jefferson had an actual job and knew how to make payroll.


JE was the dad on Good Times. The sitcom was based on life in Chicago in the projects. Thought you knew ALL about Il. Obama has a job too. Millions of Americans hired him.


@ deertracker:

Jimmie Walker WAS the show, everyone else was foil for him.

The useful idiots may have "hired" him, but Mr. Bernanke is helping him make payroll.

77% of Treasuries are purchased by the Fed. Resv. while Fannie and Freddie fund 90% of the mortgage market. The Fed buys $40B of mortgage backed securities every mo.


The keyword is WAS. JE still has a career in showbiz. Where's J.J.? Everyone is an idiot except the guy that voted for Gary somebody?


deertracker writes:

"JE still has a career in showbiz"

And Sherman Hemlsey is dead. So what?

"Useful idiot" is political term lil' Punkin'.


millions of Americans not working hired him because he promised more handouts. Fact check

The Big Dog's back

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


BD's Law: Dog will eventually write something nit-witted.

Licorice Schtick

So... the crack about the Jeffersons ISN'T racist?


@ Licorice Schtick:

Better ask Norman Lear.

Your UN could be construed as racist eh?


Contango....Im sure you realized by now that with the liberal crowd, mentioning anyone black in any kind of talk is racist. SMDH.

Randy_Marsh False alarm, He is letting thousands out every day.

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

Cora Currier is a liberal moran who writes garbage.

Yellow Snow

Thousands of illegals are about to receive clemency. This will top all previous presidents combined totals.

The Big Dog's back

Ahhhh, did you purposely forget reagan?


Well we know his memory was not that good especially when it came to Iran!

There you go again

Ummm, let's see when the estimated 5,000 illegal immigrants are released over the next few months. It seems kinda silly to write such an article knowing that this poposterous act of releasing criminals is going into effect. Sequester cuts my butt.

Darwin's choice

And yet, obama will release illegals, but keep American's in prison for minor infractions. No stupidity there....


Shame how little you know!