Siegelman -Rove saga to continue

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 30, 2008

The issue: Former Gov. Don Siegelman is out of jail.

Our position: We haven&8217;t heard the last of Karl Rove and Siegelman&8217;s claims.

Former Gov. Don Siegelman may prove the linchpin in a national investigation of selective prosecutions.

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Siegelman was released from federal prison Friday after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit made the ruling Thursday. This ruling coincided with a request from the House Judiciary Committee to have Siegelman provide testimony about the committee&8217;s investigation into whether politics played a role in alleged selective prosecutions by the Department of Justice.

Siegelman made his position clear upon his release from federal prison: &8220;When Attorney General (Alberto R.) Gonzales and Karl Rove left office in a blur, they left the truth buried in their documents,&8221; Siegelman told Adam Nossiter of The New York Times. &8220;It&8217;s going to be my quest to encourage Congress to ensure that Karl Rove either testifies or takes the Fifth.&8221;

Although, the Times couldn&8217;t reach Rove, a reporter talked to Rove&8217;s lawyer, Robert Luskin, who said, &8220;There&8217;s absolutely, positively, no truth to any of the allegations and literally no evidence for any of it.&8221;

Enter Dana Jill Simpson, a Republican attorney, who talked with House investigators under oath about

her statement about Rove&8217;s role in Siegelman&8217;s prosecution. Simpson drew a connection between Rove and the Justice Department and Siegelman&8217;s two gubernatorial campaigns.

On page 26 of her testimony, Simpson said that she knew William Canary, a player in Alabama Republican politics, meant Karl Rove in 2002 when Canary talked about &8220;Karl&8221; taking care of Siegelman in Washington.

And, in 2005, Rob Riley told her Rove had gone to the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice after a federal attorney in the Northern District botched a case against Siegelman to keep him from running against Bob Riley, Simpson told investigators.

Rob Riley has said that Karl is an attorney he knows, not Rove.

Whether Siegelman is guilty or innocent of what is claimed is beyond the point right now. The key right now is if his prosecution a political vendetta.

All indications are yes.

Rove is no stranger to Alabama politics. He worked here. He knows the way politics work in this state. He put together a move for Republicans to take over the state&8217;s judiciary. Go back to 1994 and the Business Council of Alabama that asked Rove to help run the GOP slate of candidates for the state supreme court. He did. Perry Hooper

became chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court because of Rove.

There is no doubt that Rove uses all the tools in a political planner&8217;s box. He&8217;s known for using language to his advantage, using statistical data to woo conservative rural Democrats and dirty tricks.

An Atlantic profile of Rove nearly four years ago recalled Harold See&8217;s run for the supreme court against Kenneth Ingram, the Democrat incumbent. Rove had flyers printed up that attacked See and his family and tossed them in selected yards. The public was supposed to believe Ingram was launching this dirty attack against a well-respected professor of law. See won the race.

There is no doubt that Siegelman and others believe the former governor&8217;s prosecution was orchestrated by Rove. The ultimate gain would be control of Alabama&8217;s statehouse. The best way to achieve that end is through the mother&8217;s milk of politics &8212; money.

The House Judiciary Committee is to hear from Siegelman in May. We&8217;ll see what happens as this drama in Alabama politics &8212; a drama that affects all of us &8212; unfolds on the national stage.