Sunday, January 29, 2012

New York Times: List of pardons included many tied to power

Heading into the weekend, the New York Times ran a piece exploring Governor Barbour's personal and political connections to the families of those felons who requested and received pardons. The story draws out several interesting details including a letter from a father of one of the pardon recipients who spent a portion of his plea celebrating the election of two Republican aldermen in Corinth.

After cataloging other notable examples of well connected pardonees, the writers observe:

" a state with the highest poverty rate in the nation and where nearly 70 percent of convicts are black, official redemption appears to have been attained disproportionately by white people and the well connected."

The story of Barbour's Pardongate and its impact is still being written. At least one of the subplots is its reinforcement of negative stereotypes of Mississippi. That a cocktail of race, party and cash could free killers early in Mississippi only serves to underscore those parts of our past that we'd rather forget.

Thanks, Haley.


Anonymous said...

Haley Barbour ushered into Mississippi a brand of politics and governance that, even taking into account your standard old-fashioned good old boy, back-slappin way of helping the elite and powerful get certain favors not available to the average folks, brought the concept of "pay to play" to a new unheard of level in Mississippi.

What is now the dominant force in Mississippi elections and politics, is that any and all wealthy individuals, big corporations, big business and industry trade groups and associations and their Political Action Committees, ie home builders, realtors, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, CPA's, engineers, manufacturers, contractors, big-box retailers, etc. etc. etc., now exclusively donate their millions of dollars in campaign contributions to nothing but Republican candidates. It is why we see Republican candidates for office have 6 million dollars to spend, versus any Democratic candidate being lucky enough to have 1 million dollars to spend.

When practically 99% of these major business and professional and industry wealth groups donate this kind of money exclusively to Haley's party and machine, they should be expected, and do in fact, receive in return some very nice goodies and treats...

bill said...

Billy, where were you when the Democrats needed your voice? I'm glad you're commenting now - you're an example of why our political system works so well. Minority opinion is a necessary part of the process, and I hope you'll continue to keep us in the majority on our toes.

Now to your assertions that anyone donating to Republican candidates has some sinister reason for it. I've donated a lot of money to political candidates and I know plenty of other people who have done the same or more, and we haven't sought any favors or any access to anyone. If the Democrats were better candidates I'd contribute to them. I don't like the way that the candidate with the most money has an unfair advantage, but maybe the reason he has the most money is because people think he's the best candidate. I don't know how you solve this without a repeal of at least a portion of the First Amendment, and I'm not in favor of that. Money has always controlled some politicians - before Haley Barbour, or even Haley's great great grandfather - and I don't think that's going to change until we start electing different politicians. Bill Billingsley

bill said...

Matt, when is this horse going to be declared officially dead? Haley had the right to grant pardons. He granted a bunch, many that I didn't like but it was his right to grant them. He only granted pardons to the people who had gone through the proper process - he didn't go from prison to prison asking if anyone wanted a pardon. The process works better for people who have enough money to take it all the way through. Sorry, but that's life. He followed the Parole Board's recommendations 95% of the time. Bryant has indicated that the trusty program is over at the Governor's mansion and that he'll not be issuing any pardons to murderers. What else needs to happen here? The king is dead, long live the king. Let's move on...Bill Billingsley

ceejaygee said...

One of my choir friends, who worked in Barbour's office, was defending his pardons to me. "What he did was perfectly legal," she said. "It was Jim Hood who dropped the ball. He was supposed to have sent the notices to the newspapers and didn't."

Anonymous said...

Bill Billingsley - Thank you for the kind words, glad to have a forum here in which to comment. My voice has been front and center to many top Democrats in the Magnolia State, they simply suffer from a parochial view of isolation and insulation that does not allow them to even begin to see the forest through the trees.

On the state campaign money flowing to Republicans 90cents on the dollar, a good week spent on the MS Secretary of State's website analyzing the various candidates financial reporting forms will allow you to draw some pretty solid conclusions. The individual contributions pale in comparison to the big-dollar PAC contributions from business, industry, trade groups, professional groups etc., and 99% of those big dollar contributions go almost exclusively to Republicans.