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  Possible trade rep pick linked to pardon uproar
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ContributorJason 
Last EditedJason  Dec 05, 2008 12:11am
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News DateThursday, December 4, 2008 02:55:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionWASHINGTON - The California congressman in discussions with President-elect Barack Obama to become U.S. trade representative played a role in President Bill Clinton's commuting the prison sentence of a cocaine dealer. The cocaine dealer's family had made $15,000 in political donations to the congressman and hired Clinton's brother-in-law for $200,000 to help free Carlos Vignali.

The case involving Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., marks the second time the 7-year-old controversy over Clinton's final actions has surfaced as Obama organizes his new administration. Republicans earlier resurrected the role of Eric Holder, Obama's pick for attorney general, in the pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich, who won a pardon on Clinton's last day in office.
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