Legislative Proposal to Nullify Criminal Convictions Obtained Under the Ethics in Government Act

Headnotes: 

A proposed bill would have the effect of nullifying all criminal convictions obtained under the Ethics in Government Act since that Act was passed in 1978. Under the Pardon Clause of the Constitution, U.S. Const., art. II, § 2, cl. 1, the President has broad power to take action to relieve individuals who have violated federal laws. By contrast, the Constitution gives Congress no authority to legislate a pardon for any particular individual or class of individuals. Therefore, the proposed bill exceeds Congress’ power to legislate and would be an unconstitutional infringement on the President’s pardon power.

Updated July 9, 2014