(by Aaron Klein, WND) -- The new head of the U.S. pardon office, the official responsible for vetting federal inmate applicants for presidential grants of clemency, was the key point person in connecting President Obama to Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers.
Deborah Leff, currently a senior adviser to Attorney General Eric Holder, will take over the Office of the Pardon Attorney, the Justice Department announced yesterday.
Also yesterday, the Justice Department announced six new guidelines for presidential pardon that will drastically broaden the number of those eligible among the prison population of non-violent offenders.
The new guidelines will make it easier to pardon offenders convicted of long drug offenses under laws that were stricter at the time of conviction.
Deputy Attorney General James Cole told reporters the new guidelines will focus on shortening sentences for those imprisoned under previous rules that saw little disparity between powdered cocaine and crack cocaine.
In 2010, Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act, which lowered the amount of crack and powdered cocaine that would violate federal law from a 100:1 weight ratio to 18:1 while eliminating a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for possession of crack cocaine.
Major news media reports yesterday covered the new pardon guidelines as well as the appointment of Leff to her new position. However, entirely unreported was Leff’s previous relationships with Ayers and Obama as well as her anti-gun activism.
Leff served in the 1990s as president of the Joyce Foundation, an education reform and anti-gun activist group.
Obama served on the Joyce Foundation board from 1994 to 2002. He was named to the board by Leff.
While Leff served as Joyce’s president, the non-profit provided critical start-up capital to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, or CAC, an education reform group founded by Ayers.
Obama worked closely with Ayers at the CAC and was appointed in 1995 as chairman of the organization’s board.
Obama would later cite his CAC position as evidence of his qualification for public office.
Leff told the New York Times in 2008 that she was the one who first suggested Obama as Annenberg Challenge board chairman.