Here are 2 great heroes to pardon

Mr. President, presidential pardons are reserved for great Americans who made a mistake and have paid their dues to society. Here are two great patriots who fit the bill perfectly.

I’m proud to say they are both my friends. And I’m proud to be fighting for them. Both men have done great things for America and the American people. They deserve a pardon so they can move on with their lives and legacies.

Let’s start with my friend Pete Rose. Pete is one of the greatest baseball players in history. He is beloved for being the greatest hustler in sports history. That’s why the media dubbed him “Charlie Hustle.” He is one of America’s most popular and celebrated athletes. Pete doesn’t just belong in the Baseball Hall of Fame. His bust should be right upfront with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Cy Young. Pete Rose is baseball.

He won three World Series rings, three batting titles, one Most Valuable Player award, two Gold Glove awards and the Rookie of the Year award. In 1999, Pete was voted onto the All-Century Team. Pete Rose is the definition of an American hero. But Pete made mistakes in his life. He bet on baseball games. And he pleaded guilty to income tax evasion. He served one month in prison. That was 35 years ago. We already know that President Trump is a fan of Pete Rose. A pardon by the president could well propel Pete into the hall. It would be a grand and popular gesture by President Trump. That brings me to part two. One of my other dear friends deserves a pardon, Mr. President.

While not as famous or celebrated as Pete Rose, the actions of my buddy were certainly selfless, patriotic and priceless to U.S. taxpayers. They resulted in $25 billion in back taxes, fines and penalties refunded to the U.S. Treasury.

My buddy is Brad Birkenfeld. Brad is single-handedly responsible for uncovering the largest and longest-running tax evasion in IRS history. Brad was a successful Swiss private banker, with many of the wealthiest American businessmen and women as his clients. These wealthy Americans were hiding their money offshore, in Swiss banks, to evade U.S. taxes.

In the summer of 2007, after resigning from his comfortable job at UBS in Switzerland, Brad made the decision to walk into the DOJ, and reveal the numbered accounts of 19,000 Americans hiding over $20 billion at UBS. In one act, Brad brought down the veil of hundreds of years of Swiss banking secrecy.

Brad assumed he would be protected by the U.S. government for risking his life and giving up his banking career to help the U.S. government collect billions of dollars in stolen money. Instead, the Obama Department of Justice prosecuted Brad and put him in prison for 30 months.

As a result of Brad’s testimony and the evidence he handed to the DOJ, not only was $25 billion recovered by the IRS but 100 Swiss banks signed formal agreements with the U.S. government to end their criminal conduct. Three IRS amnesty programs were implemented, resulting in 100,000 U.S. citizens in tax compliance. UBS agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement, paid a $780 million fine and agreed to release the names of 4,700 tax evaders. Brad kept demanding that 19,000 names be revealed. Instead of making Brad a national hero, Obama’s DOJ forced Brad to accept a charge of conspiracy to commit tax fraud and put him in prison. This was their way of shutting him up. The U.S. government and the Obama administration scapegoated Brad to protect wealthy tax cheats and powerful political donors to the administration. It’s time to right a wrong. A presidential pardon is requested in order to recognize that the DOJ and the Obama administration committed a terrible injustice when they put Brad Birkenfeld in prison. Mr. President, please pardon my friends, great American patriots and heroes Pete Rose and Brad Birkenfeld.

Wayne Allyn Root is a nationally syndicated author.


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