WASHINGTON – President Bush (search) granted four pardons Tuesday, bringing to just 31 the total of pardons and sentence commutations he has issued during his first term, the Justice Department announced.
The number of clemency orders issued by Bush are far off the pace of most modern presidents and less than half the 77 granted by his father, President George H.W. Bush, during his single term from 1989 to 1993, according to statistics collected by the University of Pittsburgh law school.
President Clinton (search), by contrast, granted clemency for 456 people during his eight years in office, including 176 on his last day at the White House. One of those was the contentious pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich (search), former husband of Democratic Party donor Denise Rich.
Bush also was reluctant to grant clemency while he was governor of Texas, granting only 16 applications during his term in office. That compared with 70 for his immediate predecessor, Democrat Ann Richards, according to the Pittsburgh statistics.
Most presidents since the beginning of the 20th century have granted hundreds if not thousands of pardons and sentence commutations, led by Franklin D. Roosevelt's 3,687 over four terms. Only two presidents never used their constitutional authority to grant clemency: 19th century chief executives James Garfield and William H. Harrison.
Those granted pardons Tuesday were:
— Kristan Diane Bullock Akins, Raleigh, N.C., embezzlement by a bank employee. Sentenced in August 1990 to three years' probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,000 fine.
— Ronald William Cauley, East Providence, R.I., misapplication of bank funds by an employee. Sentenced in November 1980 to one year of probation.
— Stephen Davis Simmons , Austin, Texas, possession of counterfeit obligations. Sentenced in 1981 to five years' probation and a $2,000 fine.
— Roger Charles Weber, Northridge, Calif., theft from interstate shipment. Sentenced in February 1969 to two years probation and a $200 fine.