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1975 Gerald Ford Signed (as President) Clemency Board Appointment - John Hoy Kauffmann
Starting Bid - $300.00, Sold For - $414.75
Official government document, dated August 7, 1975, signed by Gerald Ford (1913-2006), thirty-eighth President of the United States. The large-format document (23 x 19 inches), which is both printed and handwritten, appoints John Hoy Kauffmann as a member of the Presidential Clemency Board and has been signed in black ink (grading "9") by both Gerald Ford (grading "9/10"), as President, and Henry Kissinger (grading "9"), as Secretary of State. The official seal of the United States of America remains firmly affixed in the lower left quadrant. On September 16, 1974, eight days after pardoning former President Richard Nixon for his Watergate crimes, Ford signed Executive Order 11803, which established a Presidential Clemency Board to hear cases involving violations of the Military Selective Service Act. The board was formed to address the status of draft dodgers and military deserters during the Vietnam War. Just prior to signing the order, Ford stated that his intention in establishing the clemency board was to give "these young people a chance to earn their return to the mainstream of American society so that they can, if they choose, contribute, even though belatedly, to the building and the betterment of our country and the world." He concluded by stating, "The primary purpose of this program is the reconciliation of all our people and the restoration of the essential unity of Americans within which honest differences of opinion do not descend to angry discord and mutual problems are not polarized by excessive passion." According to the act, "The Board shall submit its final recommendations to the President not later than December 31, 1976, at which time it shall cease to exist." Outside of pardoning Nixon, the establishment of the Presidential Clemency Board was one of Ford's most controversial acts. It especially alienated right-wing members of his party, many of whom felt that draft dodgers and deserters should never be granted clemency for their criminal actions. This is the only Presidential Clemency Board appointment we have ever seen. According to the original order, the board was to be made up of nine members. It is not known if Kauffmann was an additional appointment or appointed as a replacement for an existing member (another gentleman, Robert S. Carter, was also appointed on the same day with Kauffmann), but the number of appointments to the board was obviously few in number, making this one of the rarest and most important Gerald Ford documents dating from his brief administration. The document has been mounted to a cardboard backing by means of tape along the reverse of both the left and right border. There is a slight vertical crease and light foxing throughout. The piece is matted, which has resulted in a slight degree of difference in tonal quality between the covered and exposed portions of the document. In Very Good to Excellent condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $300. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $414.75
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