Carly Simon's Connection to the Bush Rapper/Drug Commutation

Everyone knows you need connections to get a pardon from the President. When I first wrote up President Bush's pardons, the two that stood out to me were the commutations to time served for two drug offenders.

The mystery as to one of these two, the commutation of John Forte, has been solved. It's Carly Simon, who appealed to Orrin Hatch, who owed her for having recorded one of his songs. Gawker has the details.

Step One: John Forte goes to Exeter, makes friends with Carly Simon's kid, then makes friends with Carly Simon.
Step Two: John Forte goes to jail.
Step Three: Carly Simon records one of Orrin Hatch's soulful ballads and then is like "Okay now you owe me, old man."

Here's Carly in her own words pleading Fort's case. [More...]

As to Forte's crime:

Forte was busted in July 2000 carrying 31 pounds of liquid cocaine at Newark Airport. He claimed he was delivering a package for a friend, but was sentenced to the mandatory minimum of 14 years in prison.

Other actions Sen. Hatch took to help Forte:

In 2005, the senator convinced the Justice Department to move Forte from a Pennsylvania prison to one at Fort Dix, NJ, just 25 minutes from his mom's home in New Brunswick.

Hatch also arranged for Forte to have his guitar with him in prison, a perk not afforded many inmates.

Here's Carly on Hatch and his role in the pardon:

Hatch was "key in getting the president to act," Simon glowed. "[Hatch] is not just a Republican but also a great human being," she said. "He couldn't have been more terrific during this entire process.

I think it's great that Forte got his sentence commuted to time served. Good for him that he had the connections. I'm only sorry Bush commuted the sentences of only two drug offenders serving these absurd and draconian sentences.

But Hatch? I think Hatch has now shown he is one of the most hypocritical politicians ever. He's the ultimate drug warrior who has drafted and voted for numerous crime bills that have ratcheted up drug penalties. Tens of thousands are languishing in prisons under bills he wrote or supported that became law. That Hatch picked one offender to champion -- Forte -- to whom he had a personal connection (due to a debt to a famous musician who recorded one of his own songs) is the height of special interests.

I'll agree with Carly Simon that Sen. Hatch is a "great human being" when I see him introduce bills to repeal the unjust drug laws he helped pass in the past. Until then, he's just another Washington power broker who uses power for his own ends.

For Senator Hatch: You're So Vain.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Justice that depends on "connections" (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by esmense on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 09:47:06 PM EST
    isn't justice at all.

    That's why the world ain't just... (none / 0) (#8)
    by kdog on Sat Nov 29, 2008 at 08:17:43 AM EST
    and never will be..some animals will always be more equal than others.

    It ain't what ya know, it's who ya know...as they say, and ain't that the truth.


    You're right, of course (none / 0) (#9)
    by esmense on Sat Nov 29, 2008 at 09:48:33 AM EST
    But still...if we expect and, no matter how frustrating it is, constantly demand and work to make our system of justice a little more based in and determined by principle and the rule of law, and a little less dependent on personal affluence, power and connections, we end up with a more just system than otherwise. Sometimes it seems like an awful lot of effort for very little gain -- but I'd rather live in a society that respects the ideal of justice, even if it is also one that only on occasion manages to live up to that ideal.

    I wish I could say that I'm shocked that (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 11:09:58 PM EST
    Hatch is such a hypocrite but hasn't "connections" been the winger code word for good enough to be treated humanely since Nixon?

    He probly thinks this post is about him (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by ruffian on Thu Nov 27, 2008 at 06:19:22 AM EST
    Oh wait, it is.

    I agree - one good deed does not make up for his many many sins. But I'm glad for Forte.

    "You Belong to Me" (none / 0) (#3)
    by shoephone on Thu Nov 27, 2008 at 12:20:32 AM EST
    I guess Carly sang one of her greatest hits to Orrin.

    Looks like Carly (none / 0) (#5)
    by Lil on Thu Nov 27, 2008 at 09:10:53 AM EST
    played politics perfectly on this one and I say good for her. I believe she is friends with the Clintons and the Kennedys but got what she needed from Hatch.  The thing that surprised me most about this story is that she actually recorded a song written by Hatch...who would have thought that?  BTW, My first concert in HS was Simon (with Taylor as a bonus) and I've been adoring fan since.

    How much money is Orrin Hatch making? (none / 0) (#6)
    by joc on Thu Nov 27, 2008 at 12:01:25 PM EST
    What I wouldn't give to see the press digging into Hatch's finances and questioning whether his helping Forte was based on his own bottom line.

    It appears that Carly Simon started singing Hatch's song after she was seeking help for Forte.

    If this were a Democratic senator, you can bet the right wing noise machine would be screaming that senator was unethical and was getting paid (literally) for freeing a 'millionaire drug dealer.'

    Will anyone look into this? I don't have any hope for the MSM, but shouldn't the Senate Ethics Committee investigate? My fear is that they will also balk, because they don't want people looking into their connections with people who get favors.

    My sister-in-law (none / 0) (#7)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Fri Nov 28, 2008 at 01:48:30 PM EST

    Everyone knows you need connections to get a pardon from the President.

    My sister-in-law, who is a solid Democrat, got one with zero connections.

    About Carly... (none / 0) (#10)
    by notime4lies on Sat Nov 29, 2008 at 04:05:07 PM EST
    Carly has deep GOP roots at Martha's Vineyard.