Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Siegelman Wins Election, Republicans Steal Election, Siegelman Sent to Federal Prison

Outraged Yet?
Read on. Here are a few articles that tell how the Bush Administration, particularly Rove, stole an Alabama Governorship and then politically prosecuted and sent to Federal Prison the Democratic Governor, Don Siegelman, who had really won the election. Hard to believe? Lets not forget the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections. Democracy is over!

Harper's Magazine

Karl Rove, William Canary, and the Siegelman Case
by Scott Horton
17 December 2007

A trio of reporters at Raw Story has just published further details relating to the involvement of Karl Rove in the campaign of Alabama Governor Bob Riley and in the effort to eliminate his chief rival, former Governor Don E. Siegelman, through a criminal prosecution. The story traces Rove’s involvement, largely via his long-time friend William Canary, in the 2002 Alabama gubernatorial race. Canary had initially advised the campaign of Lieutenant Governor Steve Windom, and only after his primary defeat turned to the Riley campaign.

Rove’s linkage to this campaign has been reported before and belongs to the insider’s account of Alabama politics—but Raw Story brings in considerable additional detail. The Rove involvement is unfolded with a flow chart showing the complex relationships. As Dan Abrams noted on his MSNBC report recently, Rove’s extensive campaign dealings in Alabama involve a large team, and the central figure in the process is certainly William Canary, the husband of the U.S. Attorney who brought the Siegelman prosecution. Rove and Canary go way back, certainly to Canary’s days on the Republican National Committee. Canary’s move down to Alabama seems to have been one of the factors that led Karl Rove to become much more deeply engaged in Alabama politics.

A great deal of this article lines up with what I have learned in six months of research on the Siegelman matter. For instance, two well-known Alabama Republicans described to me Rove’s involvement in the campaign to elect Perry Hooper to a judgeship. One of them detailed to me a meeting at which Hooper and Rove were present along with several Alabama G.O.P. operatives, including Mark Fuller (later to become the Siegelman judge), at which some very aggressive campaign tactics were discussed . . . but I’ll be reporting more on this later. Rove’s mastery of the Alabama political landscape was described as comprehensive and detailed. And a large part of Rove’s work consisted of advising his clients how to approach out-of-state funders. He believed that tort reform was the pivotal issue and that manufacturers’ associations would bring in the needed cash to fuel elections. On this as on so many electoral issues, Karl Rove was spot-on. His strategy worked, and the current Alabama Supreme Court, with 8 Republicans and 1 Democrat is proof of that. The Raw Story article also opens up the floorboards on some of this operation, especially as it unfolded into the time of the 2002 gubernatorial election, but this is a complex story yet to be fully unraveled. One thing certainly emerges both from this account and from the Senate probe headed by Senator McCain: Jack Abramoff and former Riley advisor Michael Scanlon, both now convicted felons, and both figures with ample connections to Rove, are right in the middle of it.
The Raw Story
The permanent Republican majority:
Part one - How a coterie of Republican heavyweights sent a governor to jailby Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane
Published: Monday November 26, 2007
For most Americans, the very concept of political prisoners is remote and exotic, a practice that is associated with third-world dictatorships but is foreign to the American tradition. The idea that a prominent politician -- a former state governor -- could be tried on charges that many observers consider to be trumped-up, convicted in a trial that involved numerous questionable procedures, and then hauled off to prison in shackles immediately upon sentencing would be almost unbelievable.
But there is such a politician: Don Siegelman, Democratic governor of Alabama from 1999 to 2003. Starting just a few weeks after he took office, Siegelman was targeted by an investigation launched by his political opponents and escalated from the state to the federal level by Bush Administration appointees in 2001.
Siegelman was ultimately charged with 32 counts of bribery and other crimes in 2005, just as he began to attempt a political comeback. He was convicted the following year on seven of those charges. Last summer, Siegelman was sentenced to seven years in prison and immediately whisked off to a series of out-of-state jails, not even being allowed to remain free on bond while his appeal was under way.
Shortly before the sentencing, however, suspicions expressed by Alabama observers that there was something "fishy" about the case -- as Scott Horton of Harper's Magazine would later put it -- began to reach the national stage. What initially appeared to be merely a whiff of possible political corruption became something stronger, with allegations that Karl Rove and the Bush Justice Department had been operating behind the scenes. And yet, despite these suspicions and the attempts of a few journalists to bring them to greater notice, Siegelman's case remains virtually unknown to most of America.
As a result, RAW STORY Investigates has decided to focus a series of reports, interviews, and investigative pieces over the next several weeks on Siegelman’s case. At the very least, the investigation will illuminate an incestuous pool of corruption in Alabama, with government officials, lobbyists, attorneys, and even judges behaving in ways that breach the public trust.

The permanent Republican majority:

Part Two - Daughter of jailed governor sees White House hand in her father's fall
by Larisa Alexandrovna
Published: Tuesday November 27, 2007
In Part II of the RSI special investigation, The Permanent Republican Majority, the daughter of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman sits down for an exclusive interview about the family’s ordeal and her father’s case.

Throughout a week of phone and email discussions, Ms. Siegelman spoke and wrote about her father’s conviction and imprisonment on bribery and conspiracy charges and about the continued harassment of the family and those around them. The family home was broken into. Her father’s attorney had his office ransacked. Even the key whistleblower in the case – Dana Jill Simpson – had her house burned down and her car run off the road.
She maintained throughout all of these communications that Karl Rove – the former White House Chief of Staff – helped engineer her father’s fate with the help of two judges and two US Attorneys.
Indeed, Republican attorney and whistleblower Simpson testified that Bush-appointed Federal Judge Mark Fuller, who presided over Siegelman's trial, was selected in advance by Alabama Republican operatives working in concert with the US Justice Department. That department was then headed by Alberto Gonzales, who has recently resigned in disgrace.
The other federal judge with an involvement in the case is Judge William Pryor, who as Alabama attorney governor began the investigation of Governor Siegelman that eventually led to his indictment.
Then there are the two US Attorneys whose offices brought charges against Siegelman, Leura Canary, who was appointed by George W. Bush in 2001 as the US Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, and Alice Martin, another 2001 Bush appointee, who is the US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. Leura Canary is the wife of Bill Canary, an Alabama political operative with strong ties to Karl Rove who has worked as a campaign advisor to both Alabama's current governor, Bob Riley, and former Attorney General Pryor.
Dana Siegelman believes strongly that the two US attorneys and two federal judges appointed by George W. Bush were taking orders from Washington to go after her father.
“What I mean by pressure is the prosecutors knew that in order to please Gonzales, Canary, Pryor, Riley, and the White House, they needed a conviction,” Siegelman said. She added: “Even if he were guilty of what they accused him of, there wasn’t enough evidence to put him away. The entire trial was corrupted by politics.”
Siegelman asserts that her father is only allowed to have visitations in prison with his family and his attorneys and is being denied access to the media and communication with the outside world. She notes, however, that this appears to be prison policy. What is unclear is whether Siegelman is being denied access to reporters. Dana Siegelman says that some reporters have attempted to reach out to her father, but were denied access.

(The Siegelman Family)
The Permanent Republican Majority:
Part III - Running elections from the White House
by Larisa Alexandrovna, Muriel Kane and Lindsay Beyerstein
Published: Sunday December 16, 2007
Karl Rove is known to have worked with Bill Canary on numerous political races in Alabama, beginning in 1994 and including William Pryor's campaign in 1998. Canary and Pryor both enjoyed a close political and social relationship with Rove — who went on to become a senior adviser to the president, before Bush's "brain" resigned earlier this year.
Two Republican lawyers who have asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation allege that Canary and Rove also worked together on the 2002 Alabama governor's race. One of the lawyers is close to the Republican National Committee in Alabama.
According to the lawyers, Rove and Canary initially supported Republican Lieutenant Governor Steve Windom in his bid for the nomination to challenge Governor Siegelman but then switched their allegiance to Rep. Bob Riley after his victory in the primary. The Windom campaign was well known to be sluggish, however, prompting many observers to wonder just how serious an undertaking it really was.
By 2002, George W. Bush was president and Karl Rove was working in the White House as his special assistant with the highest level of security clearances. Rove, however, did not lose his security clearances, even after he was identified as one of the sources in the CIA leak case, in which the cover of covert CIA officer, Valerie Plame Wilson was exposed to journalists in 2003 as an apparent act of reprisal against her husband Joseph Wilson.
Rove could not be reached for comment for this article. A call placed to the White House for forwarding information was answered but not returned.
Windom, after being told about the article and the name of this publication, said, "I’m not interested, thanks.”
Siegelman Speaks! Ex-Gov Calls '02 Election "Stolen" by the White House!
Exclusive to "News From Underground", Monday, December 17, 2007
Here is some amazing video: a very candid interview with Don Siegelman, who spoke to Julie Sigwart of Take Back the Media on Sept. 13, 2004--months before the Governor was finally put away on trumped-up charges by the Alabama GOP.As he himself makes clear, Siegelman's ordeal began back in 2000, when he came out early on, and publicly, against the presidential bid of his fellow governor, George W. Bush, and backed Al Gore instead. It was a move that Karl Rove never did forget, and never would forgive, says Siegelman.Rove's long drive to destroy the Alabama governor resulted in the theft of the 2002 election for Republican Bob Riley. Here Siegelman describes that theft--which took place primarily in Baldwin County--and also talks about his handling of that matter.So far, the mainstream press coverage of Don Siegelman's ordeal has pointedly ignored the theft of the 2002 election. Clearly, Siegelman himself does not regard that theft as a side issue, but as a major crime, and one that is quite relevant to his whole story.Today, the Alabama governor is not allowed to speak up on his own behalf. He's locked away inside a federal prison cell, and, for good measure, has been silenced by the Alabama courts. As Scott Horton has so aptly put it, Don Siegelman is the Man in the Iron Mask.So let's do everything we can to get this interview played far and wide, so that his fellow citizens can finally hear him, and see him, talk about the criminal campaign against him.
Or watch Video at YouTube along with other related videos
Siegelman, Scrushy get 6+ years in federal prison!Jun 28th, 2007 by jamgraham
Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman to seven years in federal prison and former HealthSouth CEO to six years and 10 months.
Former Gov. Don Siegelman and HealthSouth founder Richard Scrushy were taken into custody tonight after being sentenced in federal court, and a prosecutor said they would be held overnight in a “local facility.”
Leslie Scrushy cried on the shoulder of a friend as her husband and Siegelman were escorted out of the courtroom by U.S. Marshals, and former first lady Lori Siegelman left the courthouse visibly shaken.
U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller sentenced Siegelman to seven years and four months in prison, three years of probation, restitution of $181,325, a $50,000 fine, and 500 hours of community service for bribery, conspiracy and mail fraud.
The judge sentenced Scrushy to six years and 10 months in prison, three years of probation, a $150,000 fine, $267,000 in restitution, and ordered him to pay the costs of his prison stay. The judge said the costs of incarceration Scrushy would have to pay are $1,952.66 per month and $3,450 per year for supervision.
Siegelman lawyer Vince Kilborn left the courthouse carrying Siegelman’s suit jacket and belt, which had been taken from him by marshals. He said the former governor was in leg shackles in a holding room in the federal courthouse waiting to be moved to a jail.
(What Happens Next Now That Siegelman Is In Jail?)
September 28, 2006
Baxley People's Rally Counters Riley's Big Money Eventby Glynn Wilson
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Sept. 28 – As president George W. Bush made a closed, big money only campaign fund-raising appearance for Republican Gov. Bob Riley at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, Lt Gov. Lucy Baxley held a free, public rally just up the street in Lynn Park between City Hall and the Jefferson County Courthouse, where she took on the president and the governor as big time corporate politicians who ignore the needs of normal, working people.
"The contrast in this campaign is obvious here today. It is the stark contrast between big dollars verses the people," Ms. Baxley said. "Access to the government is not supposed to be up for sale to the highest bidder."

To obtain entry into the Bush-Riley fund raiser, the estimated 2,000 guests had to pay a minimum of $250 to get in the room. And they had the option of paying $500 or even $1,000 to get closer to the president, plus an undisclosed sum to have a snap shot taken with Bush. In the past the amount has been reported in a range of from $15,000 to as much as $50,000.
Ms. Baxley's campaign offered free hotdogs to the public in the park, and she shared the stage with sailor Damien Moore and his new bride Mandy Moore. The couple chose the day to get married outside the courthouse, and said they supported the Democrat over the Republican in the Alabama governor's race.
"We love Lucy," Ms. Moore said.
Ms. Baxley described Bush's visit as bad timing at the height of the campaign season and a rip off for taxpayers, since all the taxpayers pick up the tab every time the president flies Air Force One.
"This costs all the taxpayers all over the state," Ms. Baxley said. "It's an extravagant show, but a show that proves Riley is about big money. Government is supposed to be the servant of the people, not just for those who can afford it most."
She urged the people in attendance to go out and work to recruit people to vote for her. If she is elected, she said, she will prove that "big dollars cannot buy the government."
While Bush was dropping all kinds of interesting bombs that will never be reported in the local press or the mainstream media anywhere, Ms. Baxley's event drew an interesting local celebrity supporter.
Former Libertarian and Birmingham City Councilman Jimmy Blake showed up in support of Baxley, and said he did so because Bush and Riley have allowed big corporations and insurance companies to take over the Republican Party and the government.
"I do not support this government (of Bush and Riley)," Blake said. "It's the big corporate coalition."
To prove it, he said, just look at what the Birmingham News supports. Former Gov. "Big Jim" Folsom called it the paper of the "Big Mules," meaning the large corporations, and not much has changed in Birmingham since the 1950s in that respect. The paper endorsed Bush in 2000 and 2004, and endorsed Riley in 2002 and during the Republican Party primary this spring.
Baxley just laughed when a local reporter asked about the Riley campaign's comment that her inclusion of a cardboard cutout of Bush was a joke.
"Of course it was a joke. But look, no one here wants to have their picture taken with Bush. No one is doing it," she said, and walked off toward her next campaign stop.
The Associated Press is now leading their local reporting on the Baxley event by underestimating the size of the crowd, and by interviewing anti-Bush activists for not even bothering to protest Bush's visit. Between 150 and 200 people gathered in Lynn Park for the event. The Montgomery Advertiser reporter, formerly with the Birmingham Post-Herald, thought it was more like 250.
Many Anti-Bush Activists Skip Protests During President's Visit
Meanwhile Back At The Bush RanchDid anyone else see what the president said during his visit to Hoover about using wood chips to make biofuel? Switchgrass is one thing. Is there a secret plan by the paper companies, which own most of Alabama's forests already, to plow down all the woods in America so Bush's corporate friends can make piles of money on alternative fuels?
I asked Ms. Baxley about her stand on the environment since she was in the real estate business before going into public service in state government. We are planning a trip to the Gulf Coast Oct. 7-12 for the bird migration, to check up on the overdevelopment of Alabama's coast and to do our own private hunt for the ivory-billed woodpecker recently heard in the Florida panhandle.
But Ms. Baxley's response was vague and general, which may explain why none of the people from the Black Warrior Riverkeepers party Wednesday night were in attendance.
"We need to let the people of Alabama enjoy the coastal area," Ms. Baxley said. "And we need to protect our environmental needs at the same time."
Perhaps a more concerted effort to let the tens of thousands of people in Alabama who are concerned about the state's environment know that she really cares might help her campaign in the final month.
For staters, what's this plan to turn wood chips into biofuel?
Thom Hartmann interviews Alabama Governor Don Siegelman on April 29, 2008
Submitted by BuzzFlash on Wed, 04/30/2008 - 2:18pm
Editor's note: We want to send a huge thanks to Thom Hartmann for letting us publish the entire transcript of his interview with Alabama Governor Don Siegelman about Republican partisan prosecutions and the theft of his re-election. This was transcribed by Sue Nethercott from Thom's Air America program of April 29.
[Don Siegelman]: I'm glad to be with you, Thom, thank you.
[Thom Hartmann]: Thank you, governor. You, first of all I want to say, you're one of my political heroes. You ran a campaign in which from, looking at it from the outside it, it looked to me like the election was stolen from you, you pushed back afterwards, you carried on a good fight, the Karl Rove machine came after you and you continued to stand up and I just, we have been talking about you on this show for months and months and I am just frankly honored to have you with us.
[Don Siegelman]: Well, thank you. And I want to say, I want to say thank you both to you and your listeners, because I think many of them have taken action, have called or emailed or written to John Conyers.
[Thom Hartmann]: Yes.
[Don Siegelman]: And other members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees and those actions by those people who listen to the show have (1) I think had an impact on, directly on my case, but more importantly has inspired the Inspector General of the Department of Justice and Chairman Conyers to dig in and to look for the truth, and my, I believe, as we heard on your show just a minute ago, all roads lead to Rove.
[Thom Hartmann]: Yes.
[Don Siegelman]: And when they dig up the evidence that was buried when Alberto Gonzales and Rove left the White House, they're going to find evidence of abuse of power and misuse of the Department of Justice, using it as a political tool to win elections, subverting our democracy and they're going to find that, I believe, that Karl Rove provided an umbrella of protection over those people who were operating to abuse the Department of Justice and because it just doesn't make sense why these people would violate the law with impunity unless they knew that their bosses or someone higher up had given the green light for them to do so.
[Thom Hartmann]: Right. They knew that their backside was covered, and when this whole 'who's being fired in the Justice Department among the prosecutors' scandal broke, my comment was, 'I'm not so concerned about the guys who got fired because they wouldn't get along and go along; I'm concerned about the ones who are staying in power'. And, in fact, if I understand this correctly, you were being prosecuted by a woman whose husband was the campaign manager for the Republican who ran against you for governor and in the middle of the night in one county because of a voting machine malfunction after the election had apparently already been called in your favor, suddenly in the middle of the night when there were nobody expect Republicans standing around, they discovered a couple thousand more votes and said 'Oh, yeah, no no, Don Siegelman actually lost'. Do I have that right? [Don Siegelman]: You have it right. They electronically shifted votes from my column to my Republican's column.
[Thom Hartmann]: To Bob Riley's column.
[Don Siegelman]: I believe, yes, to Bob Riley's column. And oddly enough, it didn't effect a single down-ballot race. They took five thousand or six thousand votes of mine and shifted it over to Bob Riley and when they counted everybody else's votes, the shift at the top which logically would have made a difference at the bottom...
[Thom Hartmann]: Sure.
[Don Siegelman]: You know, had no impact whatsoever.
[Thom Hartmann]: So the people running for the lesser state offices, the folks who voted Democratic right down the ticket all of a sudden at the very top of the ticket were 'Oh, I'm going to vote for every Democrat except Don Siegelman, I'll put that over to Riley ' and only in this one area in this one county on this one set of machines that was discovered in the middle of the night. by the Republicans.
"All Roads Lead to Rove" - A Netroots Nation Interview with Don Siegelman
Dominating the discussion at this weekend’s Netroots Nation conference in Austin was the urgent need to restore the rule of law now under withering assault by the Bush administration. From the suspension of habeas corpus and detainee torture to warrantless wiretapping and the politicization of the Justice Department, session after session detailed the unaccountable lawlessness of the Bush White House. And to be sure, no speaker made that case more personally than former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.
Siegelman, sentenced to 7 years in prison on trumped-up bribery charges brought by the Rove-directed DOJ, came to Netroots Nation with a simple message. Just days after Bush’s Brain was a no-show before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the matter, Siegelman insisted Congress must hold Rove in contempt:
“If you believe all roads lead to Rove, this is the shortest route to get there.”
On Friday, I had the opportunity to catch up with Governor Siegelman after his main-stage interview with Air America Radio host Sam Seder. Throughout our conversation, Siegelman was clear about the stakes:
“This is not about Don Siegelman. It’s about restoring justice and protecting our democracy.”
No doubt, Siegelman’s tale is a horror story. Seder detailed the ten-year war waged by Karl Rove and the Alabama Republican Party against the Democratic Governor dating back to the mid-1990s. After denying his 2002 reelection courtesy of election night ballot counting irregularities, the U.S. attorney’s office in Alabama finally succeeded in prosecuting Siegelman in 2006. (Back in February, CBS 60 Minutes detailed the case, involving businessman Richard Scrushy’s appointment to a state board after his contribution to a state education lottery fund.) His legal fees have already reached a staggering $2.5 million.
For his part, Siegelman believes the issue in his case is “the preservation of our democracy” which “cannot exist if the government can prosecute people they don’t like.” And one of his greatest challenges has been getting the American people to come to grips with a seemingly unimaginable nightmare scenario:
“No one wants to believe the President lied to get into war, that elections can manipulated or stolen, and that the Department of Justice was used as a political weapon. People just don’t want to believe it.”
But with the growing outcry over his case, revulsion over Rove’s snubbing of Congress and the launch of his new web site ContemptforRove.com, Siegelman sees a tipping point at hand. “We’re getting really close to getting this cracked open,” he said. Thanks in part to “pressure coming from the blogs”, Siegelman added, “the balloon is about to burst.”
Surprisingly, Siegelman showed a grudging admiration for Karl Rove in much the same way one might respect a master thief. Bush’s consigliere, Siegelman claimed, learned two critical lessons from Richard Nixon’s experience during Watergate. First, “you don’t need a secret unit in the White House” when you have the DOJ at your disposal. And second, as the missing Bush administration emails suggest, “you don’t leave evidence around like Nixon did with the tapes.”
Moving on from Rove’s modus operandi, Siegelman insisted Congress needs to act and act now. Failing to hold Karl Rove in contempt immediately risks sending the “wrong message that some people are above the law.” If people see that “Rove did it and he didn’t get caught,” the Governor warned, “it could become part of American political culture likely to happen again.” And to get to the bottom of Rove’s involvement in this episode and the broader prosecutor purge by Alberto Gonzales, Siegelman sees just one path:
“Congress is the only hope. It’s the only place people can turn to give them the truth. They deserve to know what happened.”Last week, Rep. John Conyers’ House Judiciary Committee rejected Karl Rove’s assertion of executive privilege by a 7-1 vote. [Read entire article at: http://www.crooksandliars.com/2008/07/21/all-roads-lead-to-rove-a-netroots-nation-interview-with-don-siegelman/#more-31133]
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