Published Online: January 31, 2001
Published in Print: January 31, 2001, as Federal File


Federal File

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Clemency Actions

President Clinton gave Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley a going-away present of sorts on his last day in the Oval Office.

Mr. Clinton pardoned the outgoing secretary's eldest son, Richard Wilson Riley Jr., who had been convicted in 1993 of charges stemming from marijuana and cocaine possession.

The younger Mr. Riley was arrested in November 1992 at the age of 33 with 26 others who were accused of conspiring to sell the drugs. He was sentenced to house arrest and three years' probation.

Those events unfolded as his father was nominated to become secretary.

The list of 176 people who were pardoned or whose punishments were commuted by Mr. Clinton on Jan. 20 also included four men who were convicted of defrauding the federal government of millions of dollars in education funds by creating a fictitious religious school. ("Receiver Takes Control of N.Y. Hasidic School," Jan. 24, 1996.)

The four are Hasidic Jews whose New Square, N.Y., community strongly backed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., during her campaign last year. They originally received prison sentences ranging from 30 to 78 months; Mr. Clinton reduced those terms to 24 or 30 months.

Friendly Advice

Two of President Bush's behind-the-scenes education advisers have received rewards for their hard work on the campaign trail.

Margaret LaMontagne, a longtime education policy adviser for the former Texas governor, is now the White House's domestic-policy adviser.

Nina Shokraii Rees, formerly the senior education policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, has become the deputy assistant for domestic policy to Vice President Richard B. Cheney. She will work closely with the White House on education issues.

Another Bush education adviser from the 2000 campaign, Sandy Kress, is also working in the White House domestic-policy office, but his title has not yet been determined.

—Joetta L. Sack

Vol. 20, Issue 20, Page 20

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