WASHINGTON – President Bush issued 16 pardons on Thursday, including one for a Louisiana man, and commuted the sentence of an Iowa man who was convicted on drug charges.
Seven of the 16 received no prison or jail time, instead getting probation or a reduction in their military pension.
The longest sentence was nine years, for aiding cocaine distribution, followed by a six-year term for conspiracy to possess marijuana.
One of Bush's pardons was for Clyde Philip Boudreaux, of Thibodaux, who was disciplined by military officials about 30 years ago. He was charged with borrowing money from enlisted men, accepting a non-interest bearing loan from a government contractor, and signing and swearing to a false affidavit.
With this batch, Bush has issued 113 pardons and commuted three sentences in his nearly six years in the White House, according to spokesman Tony Fratto.
Pardons are an end-of-the-year presidential tradition, and Bush was not expected to issue any more this year. He last issued pardons in August.
"Requests for executive clemency receive intense individualized consideration based upon an established set of objective criteria," Fratto said.
He said that after investigation by the Office of the Pardon Attorney at the Justice Department, most weight is given to these factors:
—the seriousness of the crime;
—how long ago it was committed;
—the acceptance of responsibility and showing remorse;
—post-conviction conduct and contributions to society;
—any specific compelling need for relief;
—official recommendations, including from the sentencing judge, the probation officer and the federal prosecutor.
The list did not include former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, charged in the CIA leak case with perjury and obstruction.
Libby, whose trial is scheduled to begin in January, is accused of lying to investigators about his conversations with reporters regarding outed CIA operative Valerie Plame, the wife of an Iraq war critic.
Bush remains the stingiest of postwar presidents on pardons.
President Clinton issued 457 in eight years in office. Bush's father, George H. W. Bush, issued 77 in four years. President Reagan issued 406 in eight years, and President Carter issued 563 in four years.
Since World War II, the largest number of pardon and commutations — 2,031 — came from President Truman, who served 82 days short of eight years.