HARRISBURG (CBS) – Gov. Rendell, by the time he leaves office, will have issued close to 1,100 pardons. That is more than twice as many as any other Pennsylvania governor in recent decades.

Rendell’s spokesman Gary Tuma points out that the governor is not alone in the pardon process. He said the governor cannot act unless he gets a recommendation from the Pardons Board.

“From my understanding, from our office of general counsel, the Pardons Board has sent him about ten times as many pardon recommendations as the second highest governor,” said Tuma.

Tuma also said the increase in recommendations from the Pardons Board was possibly due to an increase in the number of background checks being performed.

“Therefore, more people who need to pass background checks began requesting pardons to have those things erased from the record. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it’s an explanation that makes sense,” said Tuma.

The governor, in modern times, who issued the second-highest number of pardons according to the Associated Press was Milton Shapp. He signed 475 during his tenure. Rendell, nearing the end of his tenure, has signed 1,059 and is expected to consider 34 more by year’s end. The AP said the most common crimes for which Rendell issued pardons were shoplifting, other forms of theft, and drug offenses.

Reported by: Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio

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