Serial No. 106-44: Clemency for the FALN: A Flawed Decision? Hearing before the Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives, One Hundred Sixth Congress, First Session, September 21, 1999 [open pdf - 2MB]
From the opening Statement of Chairman Dan Burton: "Today we are going to focus on the President's decision to offer clemency to members of a Puerto Rican terrorist group, the FALN. Our system is based on checks and balances. The Congress can pass legislation, but the President can veto it. The President is the Commander in Chief, but only Congress can declare war. But there is one area where the President's power is absolute: the power to grant clemency. There is nothing the Congress can do about it. There is nothing the courts can do about it. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution states, He shall have the power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States except in cases of impeachment.' Before the FALN terrorists, President Clinton had received more than 3,000 petitions for clemency and he had only granted 3 of them. Then on August 11th, the President offered clemency to 16 members of the FALN, a terrorist group seeking independence for Puerto Rico. Almost a month later, 14 of the 16 people accepted the President's offer and were released from prison. This whole issue has ignited a firestorm of controversy. The FALN was involved in 130 bombings, 5 people were killed, 84 were injured. What we want to know is why did the President make this decision? What is the public benefit? Who advised him on this issue? Was the FBI consulted? The Bureau of Prisons? That is why we are holding this hearing today." Statements, letters, and material submitted for the record include those of the following: Harry Barnes, Thomas Dipko, Michael B. Cooksey, Jon Jennings, Neil Gallagher, Diana Berger Ettenson, Thomas Connor, Richard Pastorella, Anthony Senft, Vito Fossella, Carlos A. Romero-Barcelo, Judy Biggert, Dan Burton, and Henry A. Waxman.
Serial No. 106-44