Don Siegelman at Netroots Nation --

I'm here in the main convention hall at Netroots Nation, and as has been the case the last couple years I have found it slightly difficult to keep up with the news and blogging. However, there are many, many upsides to being here, of course, chief among them the ability to see some great panels. And in a few minutes I will be seeing the conversation between Sam Seder and former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, who was seemingly prosecuted by an overzealous prosecutor because he is a Democrat.

I had a chance to talk a bit with Siegelman yesterday, and today ahead of the panel the Governor has made some news: calling on John McCain to compel his informal adviser Karl Rove, who appears to have played a role in Siegelman's prosecution, to testify before Congress on the matter. Sam Stein has the story for The Huffington Post.

On Friday, former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman called on John McCain to compel his informal adviser Karl Rove to testify before Congress, and to remove Rove from any and all campaign capacities.

"Sen. McCain should distance himself from Karl Rove," said Siegelman. "And I think it is important and a smart political move [for him] to call on Rove to go and obey the law and to show up before the Judiciary Committee, to put his hand on the Bible, and to try to tell the truth - or at least plead the fifth."

Siegelman, whose controversial trial for corruption contained many Rove fingerprints, would not go so far as to claim that by employing Rove as a consultant, McCain was sullying his own good-government credentials. "That's a question that is left to the people and the electorate and they will have an opportunity to express themselves in November," he said.

But he argued that it was absolutely vital that the presumptive Republican nominee -- who, according to published reports, has received money from and privately consulted with Rove -- insist that the former Bush confidante respect Congress' investigative prerogatives. Barack Obama, he added, should do the same.

"I would like to see Senator Obama speak out on this issue and call on Congress to hold Rove in contempt because no man is above the law," he said. "And I think its set a terrible example going forward if we do not hold Rove accountable."

It has just been a few days since Rove refused to testify about his role in the prosecution of Siegelman, and it is definitely the case that McCain should tell his informal advisor to come clean. If he doesn't, it will be clear that McCain is comfortable with the type of corrupt politicization of law enforcement that we have seen during the Bush administration -- a politicization that needs to be stopped immediately.

Update [2008-7-18 12:0:16 by Jonathan Singer]: Just to add one more thing I noted yesterday over at the Huffington Post's Twitter feed from Netroots Nation (which is a good way of following the conference): I thought it was only countries like Cambodia that locked people up for their partisan affiliation.

Update [2008-7-18 12:6:37 by Jonathan Singer]: Siegelman just announced a new effort launching today -- Here's the letter the site is asking Americans to sign:

Recently, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Karl Rove, demanding his testimony about his own role in the politicization of the Department of Justice and politically motivated prosecutions of Democratic leaders, including me.

Karl Rove refused to even show up for the hearing, claiming that Congress has no power to compel senior White House officials from testifying. That's outrageous. Yet again, Karl Rove has showed his callous disregard for the law and for Congress' constitutional role as a co-equal branch of government.

It's time for Congress to act: Forward an email to your Member of Congress below, urging him or her to support a contempt resolution against Karl Rove. If Karl Rove won't respond to a legitimate Congressional subpoena, it's time to turn up the heat.

Again, you can sign the petition over at

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BREAKING: Rove Subpoenaed

The AP reports that the House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed Karl Rove.

The subpoena issued Thursday orders Rove to testify before the House panel on July 10. He is expected to face questions about the White House's role in firing nine U.S. attorneys in 2006 and the prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama, a Democrat.

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers had negotiated with Rove's attorneys for more than a year over whether the former top aide to President Bush would testify voluntarily.

"It is unfortunate that Mr. Rove has failed to cooperate with our requests," Conyers, D-Mich., said in a statement. "Although he does not seem the least bit hesitant to discuss these very issues weekly on cable television and in the print news media, Mr. Rove and his attorney have apparently concluded that a public hearing room would not be appropriate."

"Unfortunately, I have no choice today but to compel his testimony on these very important matters," Conyers said.

Seeing as how we haven't heard any testimony from Harriet Miers, I doubt we'll ever see Karl Rove testifying before Congress.

Update: The Raw Story has a copy of Conyers' letter to Rove's attorney, which came with the subpoena. Some interesting snippets (italics mine):

Your letter is incorrect in suggesting that the enclosed subpoena will raise the same issues as the Senate Judiciary Committee's subpoena to Mr. Rove and the pending lawsuit concerning our Committee's subpoena to Harriet Miers. Both these matters focus on the firing of U.S. Attorneys in 2006 and efforts to mislead Congress and the public on that subject. Here, as we have made clear from the outset, the Siegelman case is a principal focus of our request for Mr. Rove to testify. In addition, unlike Harriet Miers, Mr. Rove has made a number of on-the-record comments to the media about the Siegelman case and the U.S. Attorney firings, extending far beyond "general denials of wrongdoing." There is no question that both the prior subpoenas to Mr. Rove and Ms. Miers should have been complied with. But it is even more clear that Mr. Rove should testify as we have now directed.

(Cross-posted at CrazyDrumGuy)

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Siegelman whistleblower run off road, home caught fire

(cross-posted on DailyKos)

Wow, this happened in February, and yet did anybody hear about this?  Whistleblower Dana Jill Simpson's home caught fire, and then a few days later, her car was run off the road by a former police officer!  This is all in addition to Don Siegelman's home being broken into twice, as was his lawyer's office.

What the hell is going on?

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Karl Rove's connections to the imprisonment of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman

As many of you may know, former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman was convicted in 2006 on corruption charges, and he was sentenced to seven years in prison. However, even prior to this case, there is growing evidence that not only was this case contrived on political motives, but also part of a concerted effort to discredit him long before this case. This Sunday, CBS will air a 60 Minutes special showing how far Karl Rove went to discredit him in favor of one of his political allies, current Alabama Governor Bob Riley. Please read, recommend, and take action--more political indictments from the GOP are reportedly scheduled to take place in Alabama following the 60 Minutes special!

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Most Alabamans Think Siegelman Prosecution was Political

Karl Rove was apparently very much involved in the prosecution of Don Siegelman, who at the time was Alabama's Democratic Governor. Such a move didn't pass the smell test of Congressional investigators. And according to recent polling, it didn't pass the smell test for Alabamans, either.

In a survey of likely Alabama voters 56 percent believe it is somewhat likely or very likely that the prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman was politically motivated. The poll was conducted by a respected national polling firm, Rasmussen Reports.

Thirty five percent thought it was not very or not at all likely. Ten percent were not sure. Five hundred likely voters in the state were asked this and other questions. Ten percent said the outcome of the Alabama/Auburn football game was more important that who becomes President. The margin of Sampling Error was +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. The poll was published on Nov. 14.

According to the Survey, Alabamans' sentiments about the Siegelman issue are not bleeding over into their feelings about the upcoming Senate election in the state, with incumbent GOP Senator Jeff Sessions leading his Democratic challenger by better than a 2-to-1 margin.

That said, as this issue continues to play out in the state one could imagine it becoming more of an issue, at least in non-federal campaigns. Although Bob Riley, the Republican who defeated Siegelman in 2002, easily won reelection by about a 15-point margin in 2006, the Democrats do maintain sizable majorities in both chambers of the state legislature (.pdf) -- 61 to 43 in the House, 23 to 11 in the Senate. And the 2008 state legislative elections in Alabama, like other elections in may states around the country, will in fact be quite important given that it will be the last chance to elect that particular Senate class before redistricting. Now it's true that a good portion of the Democrats in the state legislature are conservative and thus not necessarily likely to help in an aggressive mapping effort. Nevertheless, with only one two of the states six seven Congressmen a Democrat and no district in the state less Republican than R+4 (other than the majority African-American seventh district), it's conceivable that even some minor adjustments in a couple of years could make a real difference.

Update [2007-12-5 18:38:19 by Jonathan Singer]: Well, it looks like I was wrong -- the next Alabama Senate elections won't be held until 2010. Nonetheless, the broader point basically stands, and that is that this scandal could have lasting effects in Alabama.

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