By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated May 13, 1998 12:00 AM
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Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Senate campaign treasurer, New York attorney William Cunningham III, helped obtain from former President Clinton last-minute pardons for two men convicted on tax felony charges in the ’80s, according to reports that broke wide on Thursday. By 1:30, Sen. Clinton held a half-hour live press conference in Washington, D.C. She denied any knowledge of Cunningham’s activities or of the considerations that went into her husband’s decisions to grant particular pardons. “I had nothing to do with any pardons,” she said, repeatedly. She also added, “I do not discuss private conversations that I have with my husband.” The former president has come under heavy criticism for pardons he granted on the day he left office, in particular that of fugitive financier Marc Rich. But the questions are now going beyond the Rich pardon. On Wednesday it was revealed in news reports that Mrs. Clinton’s brother, Hugh Rodham, received nearly $400,000 in fees for lobbying for a presidential pardon and a prison commutation for two wealthy felons. In her news conference on Thursday, Sen. Clinton also said that she “knew absolutely nothing about” her brother’s involvement in seeking clemency for the felons (one convicted on mail fraud charges, the other for cocaine trafficking). She added that she loves her brother but is disappointed in him.