K. Mennem 7:17 p.m., June 17
Records Show Local Congressmen Lobbied for Pardons
The non-profit investigative news website ProPublica.org has just posted an interesting series of records documenting how congressmen have sought pardons for their constiuents and others over the years.
On the list are longtime incumbent Democrat Bob Filner, currently a San Diego mayoral candidate, along with former GOP congressmen Duncan Hunter, and Randy "Duke" Cunningham, now serving a federal prison term on bribery-related charges.
In Filner's case, a March 2004 fax cover sheet from a Filner aide to Justice Department pardon attorney Roger Adams drew a response that the person in question, whose name is redacted, did not have a pardon or clemency application pending and that he or she was living in Mexico. Living abroad usually disqualifies an applicant, the Adams letter says. Filner's office wanted the case expedited.
[Update: There is a single unredacted reference to "Mr.Diaz-Sosa" as the pardon applicant in the Adams letter.]
Hunter's letter, dated December 17,2008, just as he left office to be succeeded by his son, is almost entirely redacted.
It calls the applicant "a valued member of our community."
The response from pardon attorney Ronald Rodgers, dated February 2009, says that the Hunter letter would be placed in the pardon applicant's file.
In October 2004, Cunningham wrote the Justice Department for guidance in the case of Frank Grangetto, a constituent who, according to the letter, had two drug convictions on his record that were turning up in background checks when he tried to volunteer at his daughter's pre-school.
Justice attorney Roger Adams replied that a Frank Grangetto by the previous name of Frank Marion Nelson had been in federal prison.
"If we are correct that this is the same Frank Grangetto who has contacted you," wrote Adams, "he is eligible to apply for a pardon."
Pictured: Bob Filner