Virginia Governor Restores Scooter Libby’s Voting Rights

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Lewis "Scooter" Libby. (Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Lewis “Scooter” Libby. (Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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RICHMOND, Va. — Former vice presidential adviser I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby is among more than 1,000 felons whose voting rights were restored in the past year by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, according to a report to the General Assembly.

Libby’s name is listed in the Feb. 23 report on pardons, commutations, reprieves and other forms of clemency the governor is required to submit annually. Without elaboration, the report says Libby’s civil rights were restored Nov. 1, 2012.

The contents of the report were first reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Libby was the chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney. He was convicted in 2007 of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements in a case involving leaked information that compromised the covert identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame. Libby’s 2½-year prison sentence was commuted by then-President George W. Bush.

In Virginia, only the governor can restore felons’ civil rights. McDonnell has streamlined the process and, consequently, has restored the rights of more than 4,600 felons — more than any previous governor — with nearly a year still remaining in his term.

McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said there was nothing unusual about the restoration of Libby’s rights.

“We look at the merits of each application, not the name,” he said. “This application was handled like every other one that comes to the office.”

He said McDonnell has approved 90 percent of applications by nonviolent offenders.

During the legislative session that ended last week, the Republican governor advocated a constitutional amendment that would allow automatic restoration of the rights of nonviolent offenders. The proposal, historically championed by Democrats, was rejected by the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

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(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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