December 2nd, 2009
02:32 PM ET
6 months ago

HuckPAC coordinator steps down, citing clemency decision

Huckabee granted clemency to Maurice Clemmons in 2000, when he served as governor of Arkansas.
Huckabee granted clemency to Maurice Clemmons in 2000, when he served as governor of Arkansas.

(CNN) – The Arkansas coordinator for Mike Huckabee's political action committee resigned Tuesday, citing the former Arkansas governor's decision nine years ago to grant clemency to Maurice Clemmons, the man suspected of murdering four police officers in Washington state.

Jason Tolbert, who runs a conservative blog, served as Arkansas state coordinator for HuckPAC in a volunteer capacity.

"My departure was with a heavy heart but was done after serious prayer and consideration," Tolbert wrote on his Web site. "Some have asked about the timing. As most could imagine, the recent news of the last two days along with the response did play a role in this decision but was not the sole factor."

Huckabee said Tuesday he takes "full responsibility" for the clemency decision.

"I acted on the facts presented to me in 2000, the former GOP presidential hopeful said in a statement. "If I could have possibly known what Clemmons would do nine years later, I obviously would have made a different decision. But if the same file was presented to me today, I would have likely made the same decision."


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soundoff (279 Responses)
  1. Tony

    Huckabee is not terrible (considering the GOP), but this should put a period on his political career. I hope he reaches out to the families of the slain officers whose lives he was in a unique situation to prevent from being taken. If I was a gov, I wouldn't pardon/commute anyone if I had any aspirations for higher political office. Are you really going to entrust your political career to a convicted felon? And besides, why are we paroling violent offenders anyway? That should be an easy choice – you hurt someone else in the commission of a crime, you serve every second of your sentence.

    December 2, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Isn't Huckabee the guy who has been bashing President Obama for the past 10 months over the hard decisions Mr. Obama has had to make?

    Aren't those now supporting Huckabee and HIS decisions the EXACT same people who have been mocking our president non-stop?

    Same old GOP, same old nonsence, same old hypocrisy coming from the right.

    Remember Willie Horton, guys? I'm sure Mike Dukakis does...

    December 2, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. Another Reformed Republican

    I really like the Huckster's idea of full responsibility. It wasn't my fault I made a bad decision. It's not my fault the criminal I released committed another crime within a year. It that full responsiblity? It doesn't sound like it to me.

    The Huckster is a typical Bible thumper who never claims responsibility for his actions. I guess he believes God will forgive him.

    December 2, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. coda70

    This is not Huckabee's first clemency grantee that went on to commit murder. Wayne Dumond raped and murdered after Huckabee granted him his freedom.

    December 2, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. Steve in Kentucky

    Here's really no reason to run a HuckPAC anymore. The guy is political toast!

    And good ol' Huck seems to have a BIG blind soft spot in his heart for violent criminals. According to a story in the New York Times yesterday, Huckabee had a strange fascination with letting criminals go in Arkansas.

    Don't tell me the party that produced the Willie Horton smear campaign will ever nominate somebody who released a criminal that makes Willie Horton look small time.

    December 2, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Remind me not to ask Huckabee to pick my stocks.

    December 2, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  7. Otto

    Quote: "My departure was with a heavy heart but was done after serious prayer and consideration,"

    Why do these evil people resort to prayer every time they are caught doing wrong? Do they think everyone is foolish to believe them?

    It is easier to deal with someone I know to be evil, dishonest and a no-good SOB; than these people who pretend to be Christians.

    There must be a special hell created for this kind to mentally unstable people.

    December 2, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  8. Matt

    I am not a Huckabee fan, and disagree with him on most topics. The decision he made 9 years ago, though, is certainly not the reason I would oppose him as a candidate. Granting clemency in that situation is quite understandable (even "christian" if you need a religious label for any decision you make.) It's a shame the criminal didn't take advantage of that clemency. He is the one responsible for his actions, not Huckabee.

    I will not support Huckabee for any elective office, but I don't hold this against him.

    December 2, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  9. erika

    Huck-PACrisy!!! How quickly people forget that if u have. 1 finger pointing at someone else you have 3 pointing right back at you!!!!

    December 2, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  10. Expat American

    This will haunt Huckabee if he does change his mind and runs in 2012...this is poison.

    December 2, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. Viola

    I am not a big fan of Huckabee but blaming him for what happened is irresponsible and silly.

    December 2, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. Aunt Bea and Opie

    You can still get a job at our service station Huck,hahaha

    December 2, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  13. WashUnionworker

    Folks Your missing a important point in this whole case.

    I live in Washington State, close to where this happened.

    The fact most of the media is missing is that , Washington State picked this guy up for his Ark. Parole violation and contacted Ark. and they did not want him back or where willing to jail him or pay to ship him back to Ark.

    I agree everyone should write hannity & FOX and rip him/them a new one for covering for Huckabee. The GOP have to live with what it reaps. They went after Dukakis and now karma has bit back.

    Also the 4 officers left behind nine kids, There are foundations and charity places to help these kids with expenses like college, etc. It won't replace the 3 dads and 1 mom shot and killed, but may show them America cares. I hope FOX could start by donation hannity's pay for the next year and fire the idiot.

    December 2, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  14. Silence Dogoode

    Diane do your research.

    Dukakis paroled convicted MURDERERS with no hope of parole. The cases were not in any way similar. As for rape kits, some places do ask the victims to pay for them...but that is a decision for council members, not the mayor. Further Dukakis never apologised and he REFUSED to even meet with the couple who were victims.

    You want a history lesson? democrats ran on a racist platform, fought civil rights every step of the way and got us involved in Viet Nam. They enclaved us in a welfare state and have been systematically gutting the constitution.

    December 2, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. Scott

    Huckabee IGNORED the prosecutors plea to keep the guy in jail... They don't give 95 years sentences to boy scouts. What the heck was Huckabee thinking when he paroled this guy. Huckabee has blood on his hands. His political career is over.

    December 2, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  16. jim jenny

    He is christian and im sure god was controlling this freak too,
    so hay turn the other cheek.

    But shows Huckabee is not a racist giving a black man another chance, maybe he should take steels place?. he even know how to play bass, larry graham eat your heart out, Huckabee is more black and in tune than steele, we have a rival to obama's black voters.

    December 2, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  17. Tina

    Huckabee could not have known what would happen nine years in the future. Besides, who gave him the information he used to reach his decision? If you want to blame someone for doing something nine years ago, why not blame the person who gave then Governor Huckabee the report he based his decision on?

    I think this has been blown out of proportion (as most media stories are). Why should the chairman of Huckabee's PAC resign over something that happened nine years ago?

    As much as liberals and some conservatives want to place the blame on Huckabee for four cops being shot, this is not huckabee's fault. He didn't force the alleged shooter to shoot the cops.

    Stop trying to place blame where it doesn't belong. IF the alleged suspect was the one who shot the cops, then the alledged suspect is solely to blame. Not someone who happended to cross paths with none years ago.

    December 2, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. WeThePeopleofVirginia

    Could Tolbert be considering a political run for something and decided to throw Huckabee under the bus as a spring board to campaigning?

    The only people that should step down are the two Washington State judges who allowed Clemmons out on bail in the first place.

    December 2, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. Dan

    Huckabee is a hypocrite and a POS, but this one is not his fault.

    He had no way of knowing what Clemmons would do nine years later. Clemmons was killer, not Huckabee and Clemmons is dead – case closed.

    If that's the case EVERY American that voted for George W. Bush should be imprisoned for corruption, treason and murder of our soldiers.

    December 2, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. DocinMPLS

    This appears to b nothing more than PC garbage. We must take back our country.

    December 2, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  21. JS007

    Huckabee is done.

    December 2, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  22. BobH

    I'm not a supporter of Huckabee, but his statement that, given the same facts today, he would make the same decision about clemency, shows a lot of class.

    December 2, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. Free Thinker

    Huckabee reduced a 16 year olds sentence from over 100 years to 47 years – that is all he did. You would think the NAACP or Jesse or Al or their mignions would praise him for that. Mike Huckabee stood up and took responsibility for his part. Any other policitcian would have blamed everybody else and tried their best to avoid any responsibility. Mike Huckabee has earned my respect from this situation and if he runs in 2012 he will get my vote. The country needs leaders who can take responsibility.

    December 2, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  24. Sean

    I admire Huckabee for being so forthright about his involvement, and frankly, he doesn't deserve to have his potential political career ended over this. That being said, I hope Republicans can recognize their hypocrisy in defending Huckabee considering how they've trashed Democrats over similar stories, like the one about Willie Horton. And I hope Democrats who complained about the treatment of Dukakis in the Willie Horton case and the like can recognize that Huckabee doesn't deserve to be skewered for this any more than those Democrats did.

    December 2, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  25. Danny

    There goes Huckabee's chance of ever winning the GOP nomination. No matter how much he talks to God he will always be known as the governor that pardoned a murderer that went on to kill 4 cops...and the guy was black too. That's a double whammy to the right-wingers!

    December 2, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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