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Don Siegelman: Abramoff's New Book and What It Reveals About Me and My Case

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My guest today is former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman*. Welcome back to OpEdNews, Don. Jack Abramoff's got a new book out. What does that have to do with you?

Jack Abramoff, Karl Rove's bag man, in his new book, confesses that he funneled $20 million dollars into Alabama to defeat me and my education Lottery proposal. I was trying to get a lottery to fund free college education for all Alabama high school graduates. Abramoff says that I was his number one problem and that he had to "stop" me. 

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Abramoff's partner was Mike Scanlon, who was my Republican opponent's former congressional staffer. My opponent Bob Riley had Karl Rove/Abramoff connections before getting into the race against me. I am quite sure he had gotten assurances from Abramoff and Scanlon that they would help him on the front end and, keep in mind, that after I won, the two people who got credit for stealing my election were Dan Gans (a Riley staffer) who went to work for Abramoff immediately after the election and Karl Rove's partner, Kitty Mc Collough who later got married and changed her name to Kelly Kimbrough...Oh, by the way, it was Karl Rove's client, the state Attorney General, who started the investigation and it was Karl Rove's client who stopped me from having a recount after my election was stolen. 

Anyway, this is only the tip of the Abramoff/Rove iceberg.  We know, for example, that Abramoff was paying George Berger, a political consultant, to help run my opponent's campaign. He worked out of the offices of the Business Council of Alabama. The other big time political operative who was running my opponent's campaign was Bill Canary, the husband of my prosecutor. Bill Canary is Rove's best friend and business partner in Alabama and is President of the Business Council of Alabama.

A word on Canary: He was George H.W. Bush's Special Assistant, was Chairman of the RNC and ran the ground troops for the Bush-Quayle campaign with Rove. After losing that race, they both moved to Alabama. Rove married a girl from Mobile and settled at Rosemary Beach on the Gulf Coast. And Canary married Leura Garrett, a lawyer working for the Attorney General Office, who became my prosecutor, once she was approved by Rove to be Alabama's US Attorney. Canary signed on as a paid consultant for one of my opponents who was running in the Republican primary before settling in as the campaign manager for my general election opponent the Rove/Abramoff choice, Bob Riley. Canary and Rove were also working for Bill Pryor for Attorney General along with Chris Weller, whose wife was Leura Canary's top assistant in the US Attorney's office and who was spearheading the "Siegelman investigation."

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Back to Abramoff. Abramoff represented the gambling interests in neighboring states and didn't want competition for his clients, so that made me his number one target since I was promoting a state lottery. I was Rove and Canary's number one target because I was a popular Southern Democrat. I had just brought in five (5) automobile plants, started 1000 school building projects, had made a name for Alabama among education and child advocacy groups...but more importantly, I was getting a majority of both the black and white voters of Alabama...unheard of since the Goldwater sweep in 1964! Moreover, I was being touted as a presidential candidate to look out for, "a dark horse" by The Kiplinger Letter (a national business journal) and I fear, most importantly, I was the ONLY Democrat nationally to be endorsed personally by Charlton Heston, head of the National Rifle Association. I think Rove knew that I was coming after his boss, George W Bush, as soon as I won my re-election in 2002, and he was right.

We have sworn testimony before the House Judiciary committee from a Republican lawyer that Karl Rove encouraged my prosecution. 

So where does that leave you, Don? Do the Abramoff revelations help you in your legal battles?

I am left facing false charges by a felon who was plea bargaining to keep from going to prison. No. Nothing much has helped so far. 

Karl Rove's client began the investigation March 19th, 1999, just days after I was the first governor to endorse Al Gore.

At that time, money had been pouring into Alabama from Abramoff to Karl Rove's confidants, Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist, to defeat me and my Education Lottery.

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Rove and Canary were working against me.

Rove and his best friend and his wife started a federal investigation.

Rove's partner, along with a future Abramoff employee, stole my election.

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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