Well-connected and wealthy felons are spending thousands on lobbyists in hope of gaining a presidential pardon.
Former campaign advisors and former presidential lawyers such as John M. Dowd have been collecting tens of thousands in advising fees for those hoping their connections to President Trump will allow them to present their clients cases.
Clients as varied as former international drug dealers, crooked politicians, scamming scions of the Manhattan upper crust, and disgraced CIA officials are hoping and paying for clemency, the New York Times reported.
While it would be considered bribery to offer money to the president himself in exchange for a pardon, paying lobbyists or lawyers to plead someone else’s case to the president is legal.
Dowd, who stepped down as the president’s lawyer in 2018, boasted to clients he could secure pardons because of his close connection to Trump and powerful advisors such as Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law.
The family of Jeremy Hutchinson, a former Arkansas state politician who was convicted of bribes and tax fraud, has paid $10,000 to former federal prosecutor Brett Tolman in hopes of securing a pardon. Tolman has been advising the White House on commutations and was a prominent supporter of Trump and Kushner’s sentencing reforms. Tolman helped secure a presidential pardon for Charles Kushner, who had been convicted of tax evasion, among other financial crimes.
Though Tolman has been paid tens of thousands of dollars on behalf of high-profile clients, he has represented lesser-known clients pro-bono.
Tim Hutchison, the father of Jeremy Hutchison, said, “The criminal justice system is badly broken, badly flawed. There is [sic] a lot of people deserving of mercy, and I hope the president has a wide net in his approach to pardons and clemency.”