by Jonathan Singer, Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 07:43:18 AM EDT
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 -- ContemptForRove.com. 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.Again, you can sign the petition over at ContemptForRove.com.
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.