An independent investigation has found that white criminals seeking US presidential pardons over the past decade have been nearly four times as likely to succeed as minorities, The Washington Post reported.
The newspaper said Saturday the review was conducted by ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism.
ProPublica’s review examined what happened after president George W. Bush decided at the beginning of his first term to rely almost entirely on the recommendations made by career lawyers in the Office of the Pardon Attorney.
According to the review, blacks have had the poorest chance of receiving the president’s ultimate act of mercy, the paper said.
From 2001 to 2008, Bush issued decisions in 1,918 pardon cases sent to him by the Justice Department, most involving nonviolent drug or financial crimes, The Post noted.
He pardoned 189 people — all but 13 of whom were white, the report said. Seven pardons went to blacks, four to Hispanics, one to an Asian and one to a Native American.
The Post quotes Fred Fielding, who served as Bush’s White House counsel, as saying the racial disparity “is very troubling to me and will be to (Bush), because we had no idea of the race of any applicant.”