On February 18, 2020, President Donald Trump announced the pardon of Bernard Kerik, the former NYPD commissioner who spent time in prison for tax fraud and lying to the government.
This news came hours after Trump pardoned Edward DeBartolo Jr., the former San Francisco 49ers owner was convicted in a gambling fraud scandal. DeBartolo Jr. built one of the most successful franchises in NFL history.
Kerik was nominated to be the nation’s head of homeland security on one occasion and spent three years in prison before being released in 2013.
He was viewed as a hero for leading the NYPD during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. However, Kerik’s image took a hit when he became the first New York City police commissioner to be imprisoned for federal crimes.
His legal problems spilled over and muddied the political aspirations of other elected officials, such as former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
While leaving the White House Tuesday afternoon, Trump said he “pardoned” Kerik “a man who had many recommendations from a lot of good people.”
After being pardoned, Kerik went on Twitter to thank the president writing that “there are no words to express my appreciation and gratitude to President Trump. He continued by saying that “with the exception of the birth of my children, today is one of the greatest days in my life.”
Kerik proceed to describe his prison experience as “dying with your eyes open,’ citing the “collateral consequences and the permanent loss of many of your civil and constitutional rights are personally devastating.”
Kerik volunteered to be Giuliani’s chauffeur and provided security during his first unsuccessful run for mayor. Once he secured the mayor’s office in 1993, Giuliani promoted Kerik, a high school dropout, to the highest echelons of New York City government.
The mayor eventually promoted his former bodyguard as the city’s 40th police commissioner in 2001.
Kerik almost became President George Bush’s Homeland Security Secretary in 2004, but he was quickly dropped as a nominee.
Two days afterwards, The Daily News reported that Larry Ray, who had been the best man at Kerik’s wedding, had presented evidence of Kerik failing to report thousands of dollars in gifts he’d received while he was an employee of New York City.
Texas Political Establishment Attempts to Derail Shelley Luther’s Campaign
The special election for Texas’ Senate District 30 is on pace to be one of the most heated races in the Lone Star State.
At a candidate forum on September 18, 2020, Shelley Luther, the Dallas salon owner who was jailed for opening her business in defiance of Governor Greg Abbott’s shutdown order, confronted outgoing State Senator Pat Fallon.
Fallon vacated his seat and is now backing a successor in State Representative Drew Springer.
“We don’t want somebody who’s going to be at odds with our Republican governor,” Fallon said September 18 at the Grayson County Republican Women’s Club.
I didn’t support some of the things that he has done about opening up. … So, he’s made some mistakes. He’s our Republican governor, the 80/20 rule … because you’re not going to get any bills passed unless the governor signs them.
“Let me make something clear. I am accountable to my fellow citizens in Senate District 30. Not our Governor,” Luther responded on September 19 on Facebook:
This is exactly what is wrong with Austin. Our politicians are more loyal to Abbott than us, even when they disagree with him.
I will work with Governor Abbott when he is fighting to protect the liberty of Texans, and I will oppose him when he pushes unilateral dictates that shut down our local businesses.
Fallon and Luther had a tense exchange, which was caught on video.
“You want me to go all in on this race?” Fallon questioned Luther. “I have been 5 percent in on this race. You want me to go all in on it, I’m welcome to.”
“This has become a straight-up fight between Abbott and the ‘Kumbaya’ Professional Political Class vs. the grassroots and people who remember what limited government and principles should look like,” opined conservative activist Mike Openshaw.
“Respectfully, being willing to be jailed for fighting over-reaching government shows principle; that counts for something, Patrick,” Openshaw continued.
Luther has recently received endorsements from conservative Collin County Judge Chris Hill and Young Conservatives of Texas. Springer, on the other hand, received an endorsement from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which asserted that Luther was going down a “far right” path.
A Republican is expected to carry the senate district, which may still require a runoff if the leading candidate does not get enough votes during the first round of the special election.
Election Day will be on September 29.
Luther is viewed as the truly conservative option and many believe she could help break the political status quo in Austin that has kept conservative legislation from ever being passed.
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