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Aug 27, 2009

The Siegleman Blinders

I think an excellent argument can be made that there was no crime committed when Don Siegelman appointed Richard Scrushy to the hospital Certificate of Need Review Board and Scrushy made a hefty donation to the group Siegelman had set up to promote his proposed state lottery. At the very least, Siegelman was only doing what had been done many times before. Previous Governors had given Scrushy the same unpaid position. I don't know if any of them also solicited donations from Scrushy for some non-profit effort. I also think an excellent argument can be made that even if Siegelman broke the law, it may be a true case of political selective prosecution. One of his chief detractors, Lanny Young, also implicated some top Republicans on campaign finance violations, yet those allegations were never investigated, much less prosecuted. You might say prosecutors had blinders on. They wanted Don Seigelman. Period. I've also suggested that some of the same folks who pushed for Rove to be sworn in and questioned wore those blinders too when Rove was finished. They seem to believe everything Karl Rove said was a lie, or at least suspect, just as everything Mr. Siegelman did was innocent. I believe neither is true. I previously posted about Karl Rove's testimony, asking a question that neither fellow blogger Mr. Roger Shuler nor other seem to be willing to answer: what did they expect Rove to say under oath? Why were they even remotely surprised that he failed to "confess", and instead testified he didn't remember? They seem to see great Siegelman significance in the Q&A, but I think there's nothing there. Rove's comments add nothing to their arguments, but they go on endlessly parsing his words and pauses between words. In his latest post, Mr Shuler writes that my brain seems to have corroded from living in Montgomery these past eleven years, and that I fail to understand that the Siegelman case is bigger than the individual. I beg to differ. I believe my brain is actually sharper after 11 years hosting For The Record on APT! Here are two photos as evidence. (Left, 1977 or so, Birmingham radio days) (Right, 2009, Montgomery) Who do you want in court on your side? (-: Mr. Shuler blogs that the case is bigger than Siegelman the individual, and it is. Most cases are. There are important legal issues involved, and allegations of misconduct by the people we pay to administer justice. All of that should be investigated---From the allegations against Judge Fuller to the lack of investigation into Mr. Young's allegations regarding Mr. Pryor and Mr. Sessions. But try for a minute to be dispassionate about it, to examine the facts. You include the "statute of limitations" in your list of argument in favor of Mr. Siegelman, saying prosecutors filed too late. If ever there was a "technicality" in the law, the statute of limitations is it. Should prosecutors be required to file on time? Of course. But it's a sign of desperation to spend much time making that argument when you are defending a man who is truly innocent.


  1. "I think an excellent argument can be made that there was no crime committed when Don Siegelman appointed Richard Scrushy to the hospital Certificate of Need Review Board and Scrushy made a hefty donation to the group Siegelman had set up to promote his proposed state lottery."

    but tim, where was siggy when it was time for HIS contribution to that argument???

    i keep asking you siggy sympathizers that question and haven't received a thoughtful response yet.

  2. According to federal prosecutors, the check they claim was the "smoking gun" evidence - the essential "lynch pin" in their case - was dated BEFORE the time of the meeting between Scrushy and Siegelman.

    In a very real, much more specific sense, this issue is not about quid pro quo as some may assert. It is about the equality of money with free speech.

    Traditionally, courts have ruled that the spending of one's fiscal resources have the essential equivalency of free speech. Thus, any donation to a cause could not be considered a violation.

    Further, numerous political appointments have been made by Republicans and Democrats alike in almost every political race, from the highest levels, to the lowest... and none of them have been prosecuted.

    According to the Office of the Historian of the Department of State, former president George W. Bush made MORE political appointments from his donor base than either of his two predecessors - William Jefferson Clinton and G.W.'s own dad, George Herbert Walker Bush.

    While Clinton had a 29% political appointment rate, and "Papa" Bush had a 31% rate, son-of-a-Bush had the LARGEST rate of any president EVER... 36%!

    G.W. made 370 political donor appointees to ambassadorial positions, of which 133 were non-career, as opposed to Foreign Service career officers.

    Comparing further, Clinton made 431 nominations which included 127 non-career appointees, while "Papa" Bush made 272 nominations, of which 85 were non-career appointees.

    Some notable political-donor appointment made by G.W. were David H. Wilkins as ambassador to Canada. Since 2000, Wilkins and his family raised over $200,000 for G.W., and jointly contributed more than $33,000 to the Republican Party by fundraisers.

    G.W. appointed Michael M. Wood as ambassador to Sweden in 2006. Wood's predecessor was former Texas state senator Teel Bivins, termed a Bush "Pioneer" because he raised over $100,000 for G.W. in the 2000 & 2004 elections. He was categorized as such by G.W.'s advisor Karl Rove whom systematized donor levels with terms like "Rangers" and "SuperRangers" which identified those whom raised more than $200,000 and $300,000 respectively.

    Other cases include

    • Roland Edmond Arnall - ambassador to Netherlands, gave $5 MILLION to the Progress for America Voter Fund, only later to be fined $750,000 by the Federal Elections Committee for violations

    • Barbara Sobel - wife of R. Arnall's predecessor, Bush "Pioneer, and donated $81,000 to GOP candidates & party in 2004

    • Ann Louise Wagner - ambassador to Luxembourg in 2005, according to the Center for Responsive Politics "...gave $11,425 to Republican candidates and party committees, including $3,850 to Bush’s two presidential campaigns.”

    • John Price - ambassador to Mauritius 2002-2005, raised and donated nearly $700,000

    • Sam Fox - recess appointee as ambassador to Belgium, donated $50,000 to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and raised over $1,500,000 for G.W. Bush, his appointment was scuttled less than an hour by G.W. when Bush learned that the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee had information about Fox's appointment and donations

    And that's not the half of it!