Opinion

Pardongate: Hustling Garland Lincecum

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Texas businessman Richard Cayce met with Roger Clinton, and Clinton’s business partners George Locke and Dickey Morton, to discuss a pair of business deals.  Cayce claimed he first had to pay $35,000 in cash to the trio before they would discuss efforts to obtain diplomatic passports Cayce wanted to use in an overseas business venture and efforts to secure a pardon for Garland Lincecum. Lincecum was an acquaintance of Cayce’s who had been convicted, but not yet sentenced to federal prison.  Cayce was told the total price to get a pardon for Lincecum was $300,000.

In August 1998, Morton sent a facsimile to Cayce outlining what steps he had to take in order to get an audience with Roger Clinton.  The fax instructed Cayce to make first-class airline reservations for Roger Clinton and his wife to fly from Los Angeles to Dallas.  Cayce was instructed to bring “1/3 of cookies ($) that we discussed or 33,000 cookies ($) will be delivered by your representative or you, cookies need to be ready to eat.”  In other words, Cayce was to make a one-third down payment toward a total payment of $100,000 in order to initiate business dealings with Clinton, Locke and Morton.

Cayce brought $35,000 in cash to the early August meeting that he handed over to Clinton in an airport hotel room.  The attorney for Locke and Morton later told Congressional investigators they split up the money with Clinton taking $18,000 as his share.  Clinton later claimed the $35,000 was not related to selling pardons, but instead was reimbursement for his time and business advice.  Only in the world of the Clintons was it quite natural to pay for time and business advice with a wad of cash in an airport hotel room.  Banking records show that only days later Cayce made a wire transfer of an additional $70,000 (for a total of $105,000) to the bank account of C.L.M., LLC.

By November 1998, Garland Lincecum had been sentenced to seven years in prison for fraud, but he had not been ordered to report to prison.  He was desperate to get a pardon before his April 1999 report date.  He asked relatives to cash in retirement and savings accounts in order to pay Clinton, Locke and Morton $200,000, in addition to the $105,000 Cayce had already paid them, to secure a pardon for him.  

According to Lincecum, Morton and Locke met with him in the atrium of a Dallas airport hotel and finalized the offer to get the pardon in return for the total payment of $305,000.  Clinton stood on a nearby balcony looking down on Lincecum while the meeting took place.  In a follow-up telephone call, Clinton told Lincecum, “We’re working to solve your problem…I can get anything from my brother.”   Lincecum was told his name would be among a list of six names that Roger Clinton was going to have pardoned before Bill Clinton left office. Lincecum never received the pardon.

When interviewed on CNN’s Larry King Live in June 2001, Roger Clinton gave a cleverly couched response to Lincecum’s allegations.  “No, sir, I’m not saying he’s lying. I’m not saying he’s lying.   I said there was no – let me clarify: there was no money exchanged with me. And I never heard one word about a  pardon.”

Technically, Clinton may have been telling the truth.  Lincecum did not personally give the money to Clinton, but rather, one check was mailed to C.L.M. and a second check was hand-delivered to Clinton’s business partner, Dickey Morton through Lincecum’s brother, Guy. By standing on a balcony overlooking the atrium meeting Clinton would have likely been out of earshot.

Banking records confirm that two checks for $100,000 each were made out to C.L.M., LLC.  According to a bank notation on one check, it was drafted on behalf of Alberta Lincecum, Garland’s 82-year old mother.  The other check was drawn on behalf of Guy Lincecum’s retirement account at the Edward Jones investment firm.  Alberta wiped out her life’s savings while Guy liquidated his retirement account.  Both checks were deposited at First National Bank of Crossett in Arkansas in the account belonging to C.L.M., LLC.  Neither of Clinton, Locke or Morton ever adequately explained what services they performed that warranted a total payment of $305,000 from Garland Lincecum and Richard Cayce other than to claim the money was for some unspecified “public appearances” by Roger Clinton.

Clinton fronted some of the meetings on behalf of C.L.M. yet, he later claimed he had no involvement in C.L.M., he had not heard of the company, and that if Locke and Morton used his name, they did so without his permission.  Yet, there is no record Clinton ever took action against Morton and Locke for improperly using his name, as he alleged.  More significantly, C.L.M. bank records disclose that Clinton received three checks (two dated December 10, 1998 for $10,000 and $5,500 and a third check dated January 7, 1999 in the amount of $10,000) totaling $25,500 from C.L.M. even though he claimed he had never heard of the company.

Roger Clinton became so aggressive in his influence-peddling in the waning days of Bill Clinton’s presidency that he even reached out to Rita Lavelle, a former Environmental Protection Agency official during the Reagan Administration.  Lavelle was convicted of perjury in the 1980s.  A third party approached Lavelle, allegedly on behalf of Clinton, and offered to arrange a pardon for her in return for a $30,000 payment.  Lavelle turned him down although she did submit a pardon request.  On the last night Bill Clinton was in office, Roger contacted Lavelle and asked, “Do you have $100,000 to get this through?”  She again turned him down.  Lavelle did not receive a pardon.

Mark Hyman

Mark Hyman is an investigative journalist. His book “Pardongate: How Bill & Hillary Clinton and Their Brothers Profited from Pardons” was released on June 30, 2020. You can follow him on Twitter and Parler at @MarkHyman.
Mark Hyman

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