Para ver este documento
en español, oprima aquí.
THE NEW YORK TIMES
G.O.P. Wants Clinton to Explain Clemency for Puerto
by James Dao
September 2, 1999
Copyright © 1999 THE NEW YORK TIMES. All Rights Reserved.
WASHINGTON -- Congressional Republicans stepped up pressure
on the administration Wednesday to explain President Clinton's
offer of clemency to 16 members of a violent Puerto Rican nationalist
group, subpoenaing White House and Justice Department records
and raising the likelihood of congressional hearings in the fall.
Last month, Clinton offered to reduce the sentences of 16 members
of the Armed Forces of National Liberation, commonly known by
its Spanish initials, FALN, on the condition they renounce violence.
The group was involved in more than 100 bombings in the United
States during the 1970s and 1980s.
The 16 FALN members were not linked to crimes involving deaths
or injuries, and the White House said Clinton considered their
sentences, in some cases more than 50 years in prison, to be out
of proportion to their crimes.
Wednesday, the House Committee on Government Reform issued
subpoenas to the White House and the Justice Department seeking
all records relating to the president's decision. The committee
is also considering holding hearings on the clemency offer when
Congress returns after Labor Day.
"We are going to do what we hope is a short investigation
to find out why the president would be interested in pardoning
16 terrorists," said Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the committee
chairman, Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind. "It should come as no shock
that people on both sides of the aisles are against this."
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Senate Judiciary
Committee, sent a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno Wednesday
requesting Justice Department records from the case. In his letter,
Hatch said he was particularly concerned about a report in The
New York Times that a wide range of federal law-enforcement agencies
were opposed to commuting the sentences of the 16.
Spokesmen for the White House and Justice Department would
not comment on the subpoenas. But a senior Justice Department
official said the department was likely to resist complying with
the subpoenas on the grounds that pardons are the exclusive power
of the president, over which Congress has no say.
Under Clinton's proposal, 11 of the 16 FALN members would be
eligible for immediate release from prison, two would have to
serve more time before being eligible for release, and three others
who have already been released from prison would have fines reduced.
The 16 are still reviewing the offer.