Seeking Pardons as Trump Leaves Office

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To the Editor:

Re “Pardon Season Enriches Allies of the President” (front page, Jan. 18).

The headlong rush among some of President Trump’s allies to collect hefty fees from rich felons and their associates who hope to have him grant them pardons or clemency, aside from being yet another tawdry example of the monumentally shameless influence-peddling on his watch, underscores the need to overhaul the mechanism of presidential pardons.

Congress needs to pass legislation that presidents must submit recommendations for pardons or clemency to the Justice Department for vetting and approval, leaving plenty of time for thorough research that justifies such actions and not as presidents beat a hasty path out the door. Submissions should then be checked by an independent oversight office to ensure that no undue political pressure has been brought.

Mr. Trump has laid bare how an unscrupulous and unmoored president can abuse the system. At the very least, we should be assured that felons who deserve to be permanently identified as felons stay that way.

Greg JosephSun City, Ariz.

To the Editor:

Don’t say Chaucer didn’t warn us, back around 1400. In the prologue to “The Pardoner’s Tale,” we learn that the pardoner has hair “yellow as wax” as well as false credentials, and that he takes pleasure in swindling his victims.

After insisting that his “theme” is “Radix malorum est cupiditas” (“Greed is the root of all evil”), the self-described “ful vicious man” makes clear that he expects to be paid — in gold and silver — for his fake relics, false promises and undeserved pardons.

Lois LowryFalmouth, MaineThe writer is the children’s book author.