A Wyoming man who pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud in the 1990s, and who has been asking for a presidential pardon for several years, has turned to Washington lobby shop the TCH Group in an effort to build his case.
Hiring a lobbyist to push for a pardon is rare. According to a search of U.S. Senate records, no one else has done so since 2009, though applicants do hire attorneys.
The man, Charles Rumsey Jr., of Meeteetse, Wyo., has worked as a self-employed investor and attorney, according to federal campaign finance records. (The records also show he’s given thousands of dollars to Democratic and Republican committees over the years.) He’s a 1960 graduate of Harvard Law School.
Rumsey told The Billings Gazette of Montana in 2009 that he was asking for a pardon in order to clear his name and be able to own a firearm so he could hunt. He said he pleaded guilty in the criminal case to avoid the burden and expense of a trial. The case involved fraudulent airline tickets that he didn’t know were fraudulent, he told the newspaper.
To press for a pardon, Rumsey has hired the TCH Group’s Michael Tongour, who was chief counsel to former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.). A lobbying registration form was filed Thursday and is effective back to March 1.
Tongour said today he may be seeking support for a pardon from members of Congress. “I feel like there’s a lot of merit. I hope if we approach members of Congress, that they do as well,” he said. The Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney, which screens applications before any White House decision, has not acted on Rumsey’s application, Tongour said.
Reached by phone, Rumsey declined an interview request.