Skip to main content

As it turns out, Mike Huckabee yesterday chose the right day to declare that "it's less likely than more likely" that he'll run for President in 2012.  The horrific news that Maurice Clemmons, the repeat felon granted clemency by then Governor Huckabee in 2000, was suspected of executing four Washington state police officers won't merely cast a pall over his White House hopes.  For the former Baptist minister turned GOP frontrunner, Sunday's slaughter resurrects Huckabee's disturbing history of intervening to protect political allies, fellow members of the faith and even his own son from facing justice.

To be sure, the 17 year old Maurice Clemmons sentenced to 60 years for a string of burglaries was not Wayne Dumond.

As Murray Waas documented at the Huffington Post two year ago, Mike Huckabee might claim to be a man of God, but he acted a pure partisan operator in the freeing of Dumond back in Arkansas.

The stunning scandal surrounding the convicted rapist Dumond is not limited to Huckabee's direct personal involvement in securing his parole. Nor is Huckabee's disgrace merely compounded by his later denials that he had no way of knowing the dangers posed by Dumond, who went on to rape and murder again after his release. (Waas produced extenstive documentation, including letters to Huckabee from Dumond's past victims.) Huckabee's abominable role is all the more shocking because it was done at the behest of conservative zealots like Steve Dunleavy and Guy Reel furious because Wayne Dumond's victim was a distant cousin of Bill Clinton and also happened to be the daughter of a prominent Arkansas Democrat.

Baselessly calling the coverage by ABC and the Huffington Post "complete exploitation" and full of "factual errors," Huckabee foreshadowed his pathetic statement Sunday regarding Clemmons' bloodbath and tried to deny his role in the Dumond affair.  Instead, Minister Huckabee attacked the messenger:

"What a sad thing that in an election year, we're going to take the grief of these people...and make this a political issue, and try to point fingers and blame."

Of course, for Governor Huckabee, clemency was frequently a political issue.

As MSNBC reported, in 2004 Huckabee took the unusual step of offering clemency to Eugene Fields, a four-time DWI offender. Apparently, $10,000 in contributions to the Republican Party of Arkansas and additional gifts to the Salvation Army and a Baptist church charity were sufficient to get Fields a get-out-of-jail free card from Governor Huckabee:

In August 2001, Fields, of Van Buren, Ark., was convicted of his fourth DWI charge, a felony in the state of Arkansas, was sentenced to six years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Fields reported to prison in August of 2003.

But prison records obtained by NBC News show that six weeks into that six-year sentence, Fields' application for clemency, a commutation of his sentence the governor could issue to grant Fields an early release from prison, was unanimously supported by the parole board. Within months, Huckabee issued his intent to grant executive clemency to Fields, who was released from prison soon thereafter.

As the AP reported in December 2007, Governor Huckabee didn't merely step in to help past and future felons for political purposes. Huckabee used his pardon power at an unprecedented rate (1,033 times over 10 and a half years, compared to 507 times over the 17 plus years of Bill Clinton, Frank White and Jim Guy Tucker). And as case after case shows, Huckabee was quick to offer clemency when his fellow ministers requested it.

The AP documented numerous cases of Huckabee's faith, friends and family plan for gubernatorial pardons and Christian clemency:

Donald W. Clark, convicted of theft. Huckabee's pastor recommended leniency for Clark, whose stepmother worked on Huckabee's gubernatorial staff.

Robert A. Arnold Jr., who was convicted of killing his father-in-law. Arnold's father, a former mayor of Hope, Huckabee's hometown, said he was a casual friend of the governor.

A pastor who promoted Huckabee among blacks urged the governor to grant clemency to John Henry Claiborne, who was sentenced to 100 years for a 1994 armed robbery, according to a 2004 report in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Huckabee made Claiborne eligible for parole after receiving a letter from the Rev. Charles Williams, who told the newspaper he had helped win "many, many" clemencies from Huckabee.

Whitewater figure David Hale, a government witness in the trial that forced Gov. Jim Guy Tucker's resignation and let Huckabee ascend to the office, was pardoned after being sentenced to 21 days in a state insurance case. Huckabee complained it would cost too much to hold him. The price tag: $1,200.

As prosecutor Robert Herzfeld said in 2004, "It seems to be true at least anecdotally that if a minister is involved, (Huckabee) seems likely to grant clemency."

When it comes to tipping the scales of justice, Mike Huckabee clearly believes that charity begins at home.

In 1998, the Governor's then 17 year old son David Huckabee was dismissed from his job as a Boy Scout counselor at Camp Pioneer in Hatfield, Arkansas for hanging a stray dog. Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee then personally intervened to protect his son from legal jeopardy:

It also prompted the local prosecuting attorney - bombarded with complaints generated by a national animal-rights group - to write a letter to the Arkansas state police seeking help investigating whether David and another teenager had violated state animal-cruelty laws. The state police never granted the request, and no charges were ever filed. But John Bailey, then the director of Arkansas's state police, tells NEWSWEEK that Governor Huckabee's chief of staff and personal lawyer both leaned on him to write a letter officially denying the local prosecutor's request. Bailey, a career officer who had been appointed chief by Huckabee's Democratic predecessor, said he viewed the lawyer's intervention as improper and terminated the conversation. Seven months later, he was called into Huckabee's office and fired.

Ultimately, the criminality of David Huckabee never became an albatross around his father's neck. In April 2007, David was arrested at Little Rock Airport for concealing a loaded Glock pistol in his carry-on luggage. As the AP reported, a nonchalant Huckabee the Younger received a one year suspended sentence and 10 days of community service:

"I removed the bag and asked Mr. Huckabee if he knew what he had in the bag," Little Rock police officer Arthur Nugent wrote in a report after being summoned to a security checkpoint. "He replied he did now."

Throughout his career, Mike Huckabee has repeatedly attributed his political successes to divine intervention.  As the carnage in Washington should remind us all, Governor Huckabee never hesitated to intervene in the criminal justice system for friends, family and the faithful.

** Crossposted at Perrspectives **

Originally posted to Jon Perr on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 10:40 AM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site