Power Corrupts, Chapter XXVIII in a Continuing Series


It was bad enough to learn that Henry Kissinger, memorably (and accurately) tagged as a "socialite war criminal" by the old Spy magazine, was joking with Soviet functionaries about fucking Playboy models during the Cold War and on the taxpayer dime.

Here's a new bit for the Neverending Petty Complaints about the Powerful that End Up Aggregating into a Big Deal Dept.: Former South Dakota Gov. U.S. Rep. Bill Janklow, found guilty of manslaughter last year after killing a motorcyclist and leaving the scene of the accident, pardoned his son-in-law for multiple DWI and pot-possession charges.

Reports the AP:

Among the records released Thursday was Janklow's 2002 pardon of William Gordon Haugen II, who is married to Janklow's daughter, Shonna. The pardon covered drunken driving convictions in 1983 and in 1997, and a 1993 conviction for marijuana possession.

Janklow initially refused comment Thursday when reached at his home, but later gave his first interview since being released from jail. He said he pardoned Haugen after he promised that he would go straight.

"My son-in-law did things when he was a younger person that he paid for. He came to me and asked if I would clean things up because he wanted to go to law school. I said, `Is this all behind you?' and he said, `So help me God, it's behind me.' I said, `Are you ever going to embarrass me or anybody else?' He said, `Never,' and so I did it, and he's just finished his first year in law school and is a very good student."

One wonders about the other South Dakotans that lacked the connections that allowed for such selective treatment.