Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 4, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

"ON THE HOME TEAM"....Was Don Siegelman, the former Alabama governor who was planning to run for office again in 2006, maliciously prosecuted on corruption charges by Republicans intent on ridding themselves of the state's only popular Democrat? That's been the grumbling from Democrats ever since Siegelman was indicted, but the evidence has always been circumstantial. However, many of the charges against Siegelman were based on testimony from Alabama "good ole boy" Lanny Young, and today Time reports that Siegelman wasn't the only politician Young made accusations against:

According to Young, among the recipients of his largesse were the state's former attorney general Jeff Sessions, now a U.S. Senator, and William Pryor Jr., Sessions' successor as attorney general and now a federal judge. Young, whose detailed statements are described in documents obtained by Time, became a key witness in a major case in Alabama that brought down [Siegelman] and landed him in federal prison with an 88-month sentence. As it happened, however...none of the Republicans whose campaigns he fingered were investigated in the case, let alone prosecuted.

....[Young's] evidence was heard by lawyers from U.S. Attorney [Leura] Canary's office, representatives of Alabama's Republican attorney general and an attorney from the Justice Department's public-integrity unit in Washington. But in an unusual exercise of prosecutorial discretion, nearly all the payments and donations went uninvestigated.

....Several people involved in the Siegelman case who spoke to Time say prosecutors were so focused on going after Siegelman that they showed almost no interest in tracking down what Young said about apparently illegal contributions to Sessions, Pryor, other well-known figures in the Alabama GOP and even a few of the state's Democrats. "It just didn't seem like that was ever going to happen," said an individual present during key parts of the investigation. "Sessions and Pryor were on the home team."

....The controversy surrounding the case in Alabama is not that Siegelman went to prison and his Republican colleagues didn't. Without an investigation or even questions being asked, it's impossible to know whether any of them committed illegal acts. The issue is that some of the same allegations that led to Siegelman's indictment never merited so much as a follow-up when raised in connection with Republicans.

Well, I'm sure there's an innocent explanation for all this. Probably some kind of staff shortage or something. We really shouldn't let this stuff distract us from important symbolic denunciations of liberal interest groups.

Via TPM.

Kevin Drum 2:33 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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Comments

Well, I'm sure there's an innocent explanation for all this. Probably some kind of staff shortage or something. We really shouldn't let this stuff distract us from important symbolic denunciations of liberal interest groups.

We know you don't allow yourself to engage in frothing at the mouth so common among the prols, but this is ridiculous.

Posted by: gregor on October 4, 2007 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Is there absolutely NO rule of law in states run by Republicans?

What do they think will protect them when we come for 'em?

Posted by: MarkH on October 4, 2007 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Er, gregor, have you ever heard of sarcasm?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on October 4, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Gregor: You do realize I was joking, don't you?

Posted by: Kevin Drum on October 4, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

As an expert I can say that your snark needs work Kevin.

Posted by: SnarkyShark on October 4, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

"What do they think will protect them when we come for 'em?"

Indeed. But what evidence do we see that the wimpy Democrats of today will do anything like "coming for them?"

Personally, I believe a scorched earth policy is what is required. My dream for Alabama would be the day after the Democratic president is sworn in a pardon is issued for Don Siegelman and then he is appointed special prosecutor to clean up Dodge, so to speak.

Oh well back to checking on Charlie Sheen and Britney.

Posted by: joeis on October 4, 2007 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

and while we're picking on Gregor, what's a "prol"? Is that "prole", or a "pol?"

Posted by: thersites on October 4, 2007 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Gregor wrote:
"and while we're picking on Gregor, what's a "prol"? Is that "prole", or a "pol?""

It's a combination of the two. call it, 'politically active proles'. In other worlds, Us.

Posted by: Aaron on October 4, 2007 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Boy, it would awful if this were to lead to an investigation of that smarmy, sanctimonious Sessions. Just awful.

Posted by: Lame Man on October 4, 2007 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

I agree wholeheartedly with John Dean, a Goldwater conservative who now states bluntly that today's Republicans lack the moral and ethical standing to govern. Their collective behavior while in office is highly reminiscent of Mexico's notoriously corrupt P.R.I., cerca 1970-2000. They should therefore take note of the P.R.I.'s present circumstances and bleak future prospects, and ask themselves whether they want to continue down that road.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on October 4, 2007 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Lame Man: "Boy, it would awful if this were to lead to an investigation of that smarmy, sanctimonious Sessions. Just awful."

I couldn't agree more. Simply terrible.

I'd always quietly harbored the hope that the dainty Mr. Session's unctuous political career would end in a public pratfall, a la Larry Craig Wilbur Mills.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on October 4, 2007 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

One of my happier fantasies is the Justice Dept. in the new Democratic administration pursuing a RICO case against the Republican Party.

Posted by: allbetsareoff on October 4, 2007 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

SnarkyShark: As an expert I can say that your snark needs work Kevin.

Nah, the sarcasm came through loud and clear. Prol-ly a misread on gregor's part.

Posted by: grape_crush on October 4, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Harpers' Scott Horton has written many web posts on this subject. They are worth reading and can be found here.

Posted by: Brojo on October 4, 2007 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

this very well may have been a politically motivated prosecution, but you are overlooking another, more plausible, explanation -- the feds really wanted to nail the person accused of bribing Seligman, Richard Scrushy.

Scrushy, the CEO of Healthsouth, oversaw a massive corporate fraud, on par with Enron and Worldcom. Put simply, he was about as innocent as OJ. But he made a sudden transformation into a good christian, bought tv time every day to give religious speeches, made huge donations to african american churches and spoke from the pulpit from many of them.

It worked -- the jury concluded that such a good christian man could not have done what he was accused of doing, despite the fact that 5 of his cfos pleaded guilty and testified against him.

Losing the conviction of scrushy was a huge black eye to the us atty in alabama. The local feds wanted to nail that guy, and the alleged bribery of seligman gave them a second shot at him. So they went after scrushy on bs charges, and this time they got him.

ironically, he was found innocent of the crime he was guilty of, and guilty where he was innocent.

Posted by: pj on October 4, 2007 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Is there absolutely NO rule of law in states run by Republicans?

What do they think will protect them when we come for 'em?
Posted by: MarkH on October 4, 2007 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Blackwater

Posted by: jackything on October 4, 2007 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

I want to second with emphasis Brojo's call to check out Scott Horton's "No Comment" blog at Harper's on this issue. Horton has relentlessly peeled back the putrid, slimy layers of this fully rotten onion. If anyone ever had any doubts, or needed an extended on-the-ground example of just how soulless the whole modern conservative movement really is, Horton's ongoing series uncovering this case lays it wide open for all to see. Must reading for a blow-by-blow account of just how insidiously and deeply corrupt modern conservatives truly are.

Posted by: Conrad's Ghost on October 4, 2007 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

Forget it Kevin, it's Republicantown.

Posted by: Bob Towne on October 5, 2007 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

I guess that Siegelman didn't have a wide enough stance...

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on October 5, 2007 at 7:18 AM | PERMALINK

From these cold, dead hands, they'll have to pry this toilet, er Senate, seat.

Posted by: Sen. Larry on October 5, 2007 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

Good one, Senator.

Larry Craig: The gift that keeps on giving.

Posted by: shortstop on October 5, 2007 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Any chance Siegelman could challenge his conviction on the grounds he was denied equal protection under the law?

Posted by: fafner1 on October 5, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Well, I'm sure there's an innocent explanation for all this."

There is:

IOKIYAR

Posted by: mere mortal on October 6, 2007 at 4:53 AM | PERMALINK

I'm surprised that as many Alabamians are informed as they are. It has been very hard to get the truth in Alabama about anything that involves Democratic politicians. Even the local TV and radio media pretty much parrots what the three largest newspapers in Alabama print. These newspapers are the Birmingham News, the Huntsville Times, the Mobile Press-Register which are owned by Communications giant Advance Publications, Inc.

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon, Toby Roth, Rob Riley, etc. have represented big business clients (Mississippi Casinos, Chevron, Mobil Exxon, etc) who have funneled large amounts of money through money laundering organizations, such as the Business Council of Alabama, to campaign funds and to these larger newspapers to endorse GOP politicians in return for political favors.

It is not certain, at this time, whether the corruption is isolated to the three larger Alabama newspapers or to Advance Publications Inc.

My hat goes off to the smaller locally own Alabama newspapers that investigate and print the truth.

Posted by: tandress on November 22, 2007 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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