Bush the Elder’s Scheme to Sell Pardons and Get a Payoff – Where is the Outrage Over a 10 Billion Dollar Taxpayer Ripoff?

February 26, 2001

By Jock Gill for Democrats.com


Bill Clinton wasn’t being either bold or creative in his use of the presidential pardon power. Compared to George Bush Senior’s incredible pardon fiasco, Clinton’s pardon scandal is boring.

In his last days as President, Bush Sr. sold U.S. government asset worth $10 billion to a friend for a mere $10 thousand dollars, pardoned his business colleagues, and then went on the company’s payroll for seven years.

At the very end of his presidency Papa Bush gave a sweetheart deal to the Canadian company Barrick Goldstrike. They got the rights to US land worth $10 billion in return for a nominal payment to the treasury of $10,000. But that does not seem to be all they got, or all they paid for either.

The money behind Barrick is from Saudi arms dealer and Bush family friend Adnan Khashoggi, who was identified as conduit in the Iran-Contra conspiracy. In 1986 he was arrested and charged with fraud but failed to be convicted. In one of his last acts as president Bush pardoned Khashoggi's alleged co-conspirators, who were key members of Bush's own cabinet. As a result, no case could be made against Khashoggi – or against Bush himself.

To express its gratitude for these favors Barrick Goldstrike hired Papa right after he left office and donated $148,000 to the Republican Party, at least that is the amount that can be traced. As reported by Gregory Palast this is hugely more consequential for justice than anything presidential pardon before or since, so slowly once again let’s connect the dots:

1] Iran Contra blows up – Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh makes good progress at revealing the players and their deeds.

2] Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi’s role at the center of it all is at risk of being exposed.

3] Bush "sells" $10B in gold rights for $10K to foreigners! -- why would a president accept such a bad deal for his country? This should be dramatic red flag! This incredible amount makes the sellout of the U.S. by some of our spies look like chump change.

4] Bush pardons key players as part of a cover up -- protecting Adnan Khashoggi and others. The obvious question is what was the quid pro quo?

5] Adnan Khashoggi arranges for his puppet, Peter Munk, founder of Barrick Goldstrike, to repay the favor with a lucrative "job" for George Bush.

So Khashoggi gets his cover up, Barrick gets its gold mine, Bush gets a high paying no show job, the Republican Party gets a huge contribution from a foreign company and we the taxpayers and law abiding citizens get the shaft. How much of this "deal" was all pre-arranged, scripted and "in the bag" before the selling of the gold rights and the pardons?

This also helps explain why the current Bush in the White House wants the stink about Clinton’s pardons to go away! It is simply amazing the press has given Bush Inc. a free ride on this! He must be in terror that somebody will connect the dots and his father's culpability in Iran Contra scandal will leak out. How much longer will these ghosts in the Bush closet remain silently out of sight?