As Karl Rove travels to Alabama this week to hawk his memoir Courage and Consequence, his two most prominent Alabama targets are calling him a charlatan and urging authorities to stop ignoring his role changing the nation's political map by bogus federal criminal prosecutions against Democrats.
In exclusive interviews, Democratic former Gov. Don Siegelman and Republican whistleblower Dana Jill Simpson urged the nation's journalists and Congress to grill Rove much more aggressively.
"Rove is a pathological liar," Siegelman wrote me in response to Rove's denial that he helped frame Siegelman on federal corruption charges in 2006. Siegelman, Simpson and others have cited evidence that the White House ruined Siegelman's re-election campaign as part of a nationwide plan to rely on what a DOJ chief of staff in 2005 called "loyal Bushies" as prosecutors.
Siegelman was tough also on watchdog institutions.
"By failing to investigate Karl Rove's subversion of our constitutional rights, abuse of power and the use of the DOJ as a political weapon," he wrote, "Congress and the mainstream media will be held in contempt by history."
Rove denied in Courage that politics motivated either Siegelman's prosecutors at the Bush Justice Department or a Bush-nominated Republican trial judge, Chief Judge Mark Fuller of Montgomery. Rove dismisses Simpson's 2007 testimony implicating him as "an obsession of conspiracists on the left," including the New York Times, CBS and MSNBC.
Further, Rove denied that he or other prominent Republicans have ever met Simpson, who stepped forward in 2007 with sworn statements alleging that authorities had framed Siegelman to prevent his re-election.
In response to Rove's claims, Simpson disclosed for the first time publicly that her late father and sister met both future Bush presidents in Texas beginning three decades ago. She said her sister worked at a Bush-affiliated bank in Texas on investor relations involving the oil business.
Simpson says her father occasionally met members of the Bush family on business dealings related to oil leases for his accounting clients, and she showed me photos illustrating that she and her son wereinvited to the White House in 2001.
"Karl Rove knows perfectly well what the truth is," says Simpson. An attorney, Simpson points out that a Democratic staffer cut her off during her 2007 House Judiciary Committee closed-door testimony when she started to respond to a question about her political experience by mentioning her family's connections to the Bush family. "It's right there in the transcript," she says, noting the bottom of page seven.
More generally, the Obama administration has resisted reviews of the flimsy evidence against Siegelmanand his codefendant Richard Scrushy. They were sentenced to seven years in prison primarily because Siegelman reappointed Scrushy to a state board in 1999 after Scrushy donated to a non-profit Siegelman advocated. DOJ Solicitor General Elena Kagan, a friend of the president and a leading candidate for his next Supreme Court nomination, has urged the court to deny review.
This is the background as Rove's book tour comes to Birmingham April 27. As reported by Roger Shuler for OpEd News, Rove will face protesters showing a fanciful image of police frog-walking Rove in handcuffs.
But protesters can expect scant impact when Democratic Party leaders distance themselves from Siegelman after years of negative news coverage.
Siegelman told a progressive audience last summer at Netroots Nation that Obama White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett had told him earlier that day that defendants like him must build media and political support for themselves to win White House interest.
But Hollywood filmmaker John McTiernan of Die Hard fame showed last year in The Political Prosecutions of Karl Rove the difficulty for political defendants in matching the DOJ's resources, even if courts permitted it. You can watch here for free the documentary portraying the financial ruin imposed on defendants by federal charges.
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