The Truth About Bill Clinton’s Sketchy Brother

We’ve all got that crazy aunt, uncle, or cousin that mom and dad don’t want mentioned at the church picnic. In the case of the Clinton political dynasty, it’s former President Bill Clinton’s brother Roger Clinton Jr. Half-brother, technically. The guy is so sketchy that the Secret Service gave him the code name “Headache” during the Clinton presidency, according to The New York Times. (Hilary’s brother’s were reportedly a handful, as well.) So just how much trouble does one have to get into to earn such a nickname during an administration so fraught with its own ignominy? That was a question that Roger Clinton Jr. found an answer to.

While his big brother was developing his acting career on the political stage, Roger Clinton was doing the same on the silver screen. According to his IMDB profile, he has starred in such cinematic masterpieces as Bio-Dome, Spy Hard, and Fred Claus. And like any moderately successful actor in Hollywood, Roger got his fair share of DWI and drug possession arrests. The New York Times reports that he had already been locked up for conspiracy to distribute cocaine after being arrested in a sting in 1985 that had been authorized by none other than big brother Bill when he was governor of Arkansas. Luckily for Roger, big bro made it all the way to the White House, so he received a presidential pardon on Bill’s last day in office, one of several of Clinton’s final acts of clemency that the BBC notes were controversial at the time.

Bill Clinton's brother's connection to the Mafia

Roger Clinton’s trouble with the law in the 1980s did not deter him from future nefariousness. As it turned out, he apparently only got more involved in the criminal underworld that keeps the illicit drug trade running. In 2001, The New York Times reported on a golf game in 1999 in which Roger Clinton was given a Rolex watch by a man who interrupted his golf game on the 10th hole. The man turned out to be Tommy Gambino, as in the notorious Gambino crime family of the Sicilian Mafia. The two had a muted conversation, and when Tommy left, Roger told his golf partners that he was “helping” Tommy’s father Rosario, who was serving a 45-year sentence for trafficking heroin. The Gambino family also cut Roger a check for $50,000.

What Roger didn’t know at the time was that his golf buddies that day were actually intelligence officers from the Air Force. Roger had pretty much just told them that he’d been paid to influence his brother to give an incarcerated gangster a presidential pardon. But the president wasn’t convinced by his little brother’s shiny new watch. Controversial as Bill Clinton’s last-day pardons were, they did not include any for the Gambino family.

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