Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Case of Don Siegelman

For those in Bruin Democrats who went to Friday's Bill Maher taping, we were treated to a special Overtime session where a viewer e-mail asked about Don Siegelman. Most of you probably hadn't heard about this, but this may be one of the biggest scandals yet, and may be the real reason Karl Rove resigned when he did. Here's the clip for those that weren't there.



Siegelman, the Democratic Governor of Alabama, lost his re-election race to Bob Riley (R) in 2002 by a mere 3,000 votes. There were accusations of electronic vote tampering that gave Riley his victory. Because Siegelman wouldn't go away quietly, Karl Rove himself got involved, according to an affidavit filed by a Republican lawyer who was in on the conversation, in trying to railroad Siegelman. Bring him up on trumped up charges and send him to jail. Which is what they basically did, with the help of the U.S. attorney's office. In other words, the Justice Department became little more than what banana republics have, silencing opponents by throwing whatever they could at them and seeing what stuck.

According to Simpson's statement, William Canary, a senior G.O.P. political operative and Riley adviser who was on the conference call, said "not to worry about Don Siegelman" because "'his girls' would take care of" the governor. Canary then made clear that "his girls" was a reference to his wife, Leura Canary, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, and Alice Martin, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.

Canary reassured others on the conference call — who also included Riley's son, Rob, and Terry Butts, another Riley lawyer and former justice of the Alabama supreme court — that he had the help of a powerful pal in Washington. Canary said "not to worry — that he had already gotten it worked out with Karl and Karl had spoken with the Department of Justice and the Department of Justice was already pursuing Don Siegelman," the Simpson affidavit says. Both U.S. attorney offices subsequently indicted Siegelman on a variety of charges, although Leura Canary recused herself from dealing with the case in May 2002. A federal judge dismissed the Northern District case before it could be tried, but Siegelman was convicted in the Middle District on bribery and conspiracy charges last June.

....

Siegelman, together with former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, was convicted on bribery and conspiracy charges and faces sentencing June 26. Lawyers for Siegelman and Scrushy told TIME they were considering whether to use Simpson's affadavit in expected motions to dismiss charges against their clients, or in some other phase of what is likely to be a protracted appeals process.

Siegelman was convicted of appointing Scrushy to a hospital regulatory board in exchange for a $500,000 contribution to a campaign for a state lottery to fund education. Defense lawyers have argued that Siegelman drew no personal financial benefit from Scrushy's donation to the lottery campaign, and they note that Scrushy had served on the hospital regulatory board under three previous governors, before Siegelman reappointed him. The reappointment, they have argued, offered little of value to Scrushy except more work.


That's the most bizarre thing. Siegelman merely re-appointed Scrushy to the SAME POST he held under THREE previous governors, including Republican ones. And he received no personal benefit from it. How exactly is that a crime?

For more information on this, please read Harper's Scott Horton, one of the few reporters actually investigating all the sordid connections. In the end, Siegelman was probably guilty of nothing but being a Democrat in Alabama with Karl Rove working out of the White House.

Also, TIME magazine had another must-read follow-up last week which opened up a new avenue, the one that was discussed on Bill Maher's show.

On may 8, 2002, Clayton Lamar (Lanny) Young Jr., a lobbyist and landfill developer described by acquaintances as a hard-drinking "good ole boy," was in an expansive mood. In the downtown offices of the U.S. Attorney in Montgomery, Ala., Young settled into his chair, personal lawyer at his side, and proceeded to tell a group of seasoned prosecutors and investigators that he had paid tens of thousands of dollars in apparently illegal campaign contributions to some of the biggest names in Alabama Republican politics. According to Young, among the recipients of his largesse were the state's former attorney general Jeff Sessions, now a U.S. Senator, and William Pryor Jr., Sessions' successor as attorney general and now a federal judge. Young, whose detailed statements are described in documents obtained by TIME, became a key witness in a major case in Alabama that brought down a high-profile politician and landed him in federal prison with an 88-month sentence. As it happened, however, that official was the top Democrat named by Young in a series of interviews, and none of the Republicans whose campaigns he fingered were investigated in the case, let alone prosecuted.


So not only does the Justice Dept. prosecute Democrats on trumped up charges, when presented with evidence showing Republicans got ILLEGAL campaign contributions, they decided NOT to file any charges. And so Sessions is still a Senator (up for re-election in 2008), and Pryor is still a federal judge, instilling conservative decisions in all his rulings. We discuss this more on DailyKos, if anyone's interested in reading more commentary about this.

And just on Wednesday, House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers (D-MI) released an interview with Simpson that implicated Karl Rove in all this mess. This scandal is not over, not by a long shot. This may be the real scandal behind the U.S. attorney firings that eventually cost Attorney General Alberto Gonzales his job. It's already led to the retirement of New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici (R). It led to an innocent woman being thrown in jail on trumped up charges in Wisconsin just to tarnish Democratic Governor Jim Doyle's administration right before the election.

We've only hit the tip of the iceberg in the deep-seated corruption that is now, sadly, our Justice Department.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is an important observation. I beleive that Rove did in fact resign over this matter. It is clear that there was an abuse of power in the Siegelman prosecution, and I believe, ultimately, Don Siegelman will walk away as a free man. However, this "politicization" of the DOJ is perhaps, and I include Iraq in this, the most horrific and dangerous action by the Bush Administration. When an administration destroys the credibility of its legal arm, it destroys the credibility of the system, which remains as a cancer. One hopes that the cancer can be excised in November 2008, but no one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American people.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that as many Alabamians are informed as they are. It has been very hard to get the truth in Alabama about anything that involves a Democrat politician. Even the local TV and radio media pretty much parrots what the three largest newspapers in Alabama print. These newspapers are the Birmingham News, the Huntsville Times, Mobile Press-Register which are owned by Communications giant Advance Publications, Inc.

Lobbyest Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon, Toby Roth, Rob Riley, etc. have acted in the past for big business clients (Mississippi Casinos, Chevron/Exxon, etc) who have funneled large amounts of money through money laundering organizations such as the Business Council of Alabama to these newspapers to endorse GOP politicians for political favors.

It is not certain whether the corruption is isolated to the three Alabama newspapers or to Advance Publications Inc.

My hat goes off to the smaller locally own Alabama newspapers that continue to investigate and print the truth.

Anonymous said...

Before the 2002 gubernatorial elections, Bob Riley asked Choctaw Indian lobbyist Michael Scanlon who represented the casino-operating Choctaw Indians in Philadelphia, Miss., to funnel money from the Choctaw Indians in return for helping him get elected governor over Don Siegelman and if he was elected he would kill any hopes of Alabama getting a state lottery and block the Alabama Poarch Indians from getting a class 3 gambling license. Scanlon was to see that the money was laundered before the 2002 election through the Republican Governors Association, the Alabama Republican Party and to the Business Council of Alabama.. Scanlon had an interest in the 2002 Alabama elections, where Riley faced Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman, because Siegelman was advocating a state lottery, which could have attracted customers away from the Choctaws’ two casinos in Philadelphia, Miss.
In 2002, Scanlon funneled the following amounts of Choctaw money to help Riley’s election campaign:

(1) Scanlon funneled $500,000 in October 2002 to the Republican Governors Association, which soon after transferred the money to a related Republican committee, which in turn donated $650,000 to Riley and $150,000 to the Alabama Republican Party the same month.

(2) Scanlon funneled $100,000 to four Alabama-based political action committees controlled by Montgomery lobbyists Joe Fine and Bob Geddie that contributed heavily to Riley’s campaign.

(2) Scanlon funneled $9,000 plus later another undetermined amount to Progress PAC, the fundraising arm of the Business Council of Alabama, which also contributed heavily to Riley.

(3) Scanlon’ also funneled $75,000 to “Riley” through the National Republican Congressional Committee, $50,000 to the NRCC, and the NRCC gave Riley $360,000.

In late 2001 Scanlon had paid $155,000, for the Choctaw Indians, to the public relations firm of Lunde and Burger for professional campaign services in Alabama which was used to defeat the lottery and gambling in Alabama while Siegelman was governor.

Anonymous said...

"LARGE NEWS MEDIAS ARE PAID TO BE ANTI-DEMOCRAT"
I'm surprised that as many Americans are informed as they are. It has been very hard to get the truth about anything that involves Democratic politicians. Without the internet blobs, forums and locally owned news medias, U.S. citizens would totally be controlled by Bush’s lies and scare tactics. U.S. Citizens are fed anti-Democrat propaganda from large news media.

The GOP under the Bush administration has managed to gain control of large communication and publishing companies through government contracts, appointments and through lobbyist such as Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon who have directed money from big business to private accounts.

In Alabama, just because Don Siegelman was a Democrat and a threat to Bob Riley in the 2006 gubernatorial race. During the election he was pulled into court and portrayed by the largest news media as a modern day Al Capone. He was shamefully shackled and paraded all over the United States by Federal Marshals and the Federal Penal Guards to several different prison holding facilities and finally ended up being placed in a prison over 600 miles from his family . He has been kept isolated and denied interviews by 60 minutes and local news media.

Many Alabama citizens both Black and white personally knew this popular born and raised Alabamian. He grew up to be the only person in history to have been elected to hold the top four positions in Alabama government

Anonymous said...

"LARGE NEWS MEDIAS ARE PAID TO BE ANTI-DEMOCRAT"
I'm surprised that as many Americans are informed as they are. It has been very hard to get the truth about anything that involves Democratic politicians. Without the internet blobs, forums and locally owned news medias, U.S. citizens would totally be controlled by Bush’s lies and scare tactics. U.S. Citizens are fed anti-Democrat propaganda from large news media.

The GOP under the Bush administration has managed to gain control of large communication and publishing companies through government contracts, appointments and through lobbyist such as Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon who have directed money from big business to private accounts.

In Alabama, Don Siegelman was a Democrat and a threat to Bob Riley in the 2006 gubernatorial race. During the election he was pulled into court and portrayed by the largest news media as a modern day Al Capone. He was shamefully shackled and paraded all over the United States by Federal Marshals and the Federal Penal Guards to several different prison holding facilities and finally ended up being placed in a prison over 600 miles from his family . He has been kept isolated and denied interviews by 60 minutes and local news media.

Many Alabama citizens both Black and white personally knew this popular born and raised Alabamian. He grew up to be the only person in history to have been elected to hold the top four positions in Alabama government

Rev. Bob Richards said...

To Bush, Cheney and other political leaders in high places:

Most of you are senior citizens acting selfish and cruel to your fellow men like you are going to live forever.

For it is written by God: "IT IS APPOINTED UNTO MEN ONCE TO DIE, BUT AFTER THIS THE JUDGEMENT. FOR MAN THAT IS BORN OF A WOMAN IS OF FEW DAYS AND FULL OF TROUBLE. YOU COMETH FORTH LIKE A FLOWER, AND IS CUT DOWN; YOU FLEETH AS A SHADOW, AND CONTINUETH NOT."

You need to live every day like it's your last for it maybe!

CAUTION! What you do here on earth determines where and how you will spend eternity.

Your days are numbered. You have an appointment with death that everyone must keep.

GOD

Atlantaflash said...

The three largest newspapers plus the Internet site al.com in Alabama are all owned by Advance Publications, INC. They literally print nothing but lies about all Democrats in the state. They will not allow their investigative reporters any access to these cases. If they would have investigated and printed the truth about Don Siegelman like the locally own papers done the Canary's would have been run out of the state by its citizens before now.

It has taken a few months, but most Alabamians now know the truth about their good friend Don Siegelman, about the conspiracy that removed the most popular Democrat in Alabama by Bush's appointees and how his elections were taken from him.

These three newspaper instruct their writers to start every article that they write about Siegelman with this statement, "our newspapers endorsed Riley and we believe Siegelman to be a crook" then they twist every sentence after that to sound negative.

Many of us are dropping our subscriptions and are switching to locally owned newspapers.

Anonymous said...

"Newhouse/Advance Publications Are Working With GOP Operatives To Create Corrupt Public Images Of Top Democratic Politicians."

In Alabama, Bob Riley is being groomed as a potential vice-presidential candidate. Bush's/Cheney's GOP operatives are using the prison system to keep Don Siegelman from talking to the media about Gov. Riley's past and what he knows about Alabama's dirty history of campaign corruptions. When Siegelman was Secretary of State and Attorney General, he worked with all branches of law enforcement which investigated sham organizations, Contra drug trafficking, tax evasion and money laundering. The investigations found that much of it were linked to high ranking GOP campaign contributions in Alabama as well as Florida, Arkansas, and sometimes Georgia, and Mississippi. Siegelman is a very smart attorney. He holds two law degrees. He knows more about Alabama's politics than anyone, being the only person in history to have held the top four government offices in Alabama and he has first hand knowledge of how a White House backed campaign conspiracy works. This is a partial list of the skeletons that they don't want big media to know about: (a)The Bush's/Cheney's Staff (Rove) has classified information from Diebold Election Systems, Inc. of Allen, TX.) which was shared with Dan Gans of Riley's staff. This included Diebold software code and registers addresses for each candidate along with passwords and a method of accessing the voting machines. This was used for vote stuffing in several counties in Alabama in 2002. (b) Millions of dollars of dirty campaign money were used to defeat Siegelman's Education Lottery and to defeat his gubernatorial campaigns. The money came from big business clients of Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon, Toby Roth, Rob Riley and William Canary. (c) Several different National GOP associations along with some sham organizations ran by Robin Vanderwall, Preston Gates, Ralph Reed, Glover Norquist and William Canary laundered the money so that it wouldn't be obvious who the donors were. (d) The newspapers of big media giant Newhouse/Advance Publications (controlled by Billionaire Donald Newhouse) agreed to print articles hand fed to them by Bush appointed U.S. government officials to create a corrupt public image of Siegelman, and other top Democrat politicians.