[EDITOR'S NOTE: Our guest blogger Dana Siegelman is the daughter of Don Siegelman, the former Democratic Gov. of Alabama. He is scheduled to report to federal prison on September 11 to serve the remaining 6 years of a prison sentence after being prosecuted and found guilty in 2006 by friends and colleagues of Karl Rove, on charges of bribery. The former Governor received no money, or anything of tangential value in the transaction, and no explicit quid pro quo was found in his trial. The supposed "bribe" was by a local hospital executive, Richard Scrushy, who donated $500,000 to a fund favored by Siegelman, and meant to support a state lottery that would send underprivileged children to college. In return, prosecutors charged, Siegelman appointed Scrushy to a state hospital board, even though he had already been appointed to serve on the same board under three previous Governors (two Republicans and a Democrat). Such a transaction has never before been considered a crime in this country.]
There was rumor of Karl Rove's presence echoing in the halls of the Time Warner Cable Arena at the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina on September 5th, 2012. For some reason, since he dared show up to the DNC, I immediately felt it was meant to be that I meet him in person.
I mean, here I am petitioning for a Presidential pardon to lift my father's 78 month prison sentence that came at the hands of many GOP operatives set on taking my dad --- a Democrat, and the only man to have served in every statewide office in Alabama --- out of politics.
One of those operatives even swore under oath, in front of Congress, that Rove played a key role in making sure the U.S. Department of Justice was on board to see my dad's political prosecution --- as CBS' 60 Minutes reported back in early 2008 --- through to the end.
As you may imagine, my heart was beating at the prospect of confronting Rove in person, if the opportunity arrived. He had refused to testify when he was subpoenaed by Congress, and while several journalists have asked him about it, he has dodged the questions by saying he only learned of the case by reading it in the news, or that he only met some of the prosecutors involved, but not the woman who claimed she actually spied on my dad at the direction of Rove. As ABC's George Stephanopoulos told Mr. Rove after asking him about the Siegelman case, "But that's not a denial." I agree!
The main players in my father's prosecution, U.S. Attorney Leura Canary, her husband Bill Canary (who ran my father's opponent's campaign), former Alabama Attorney General now 11th Circuit Federal Judge Bill Pryor, and Federal Judge Mark Fuller have all been connected to Rove.
Political prosecutions were prevalent during the Bush years. The federal judges he appointed to the bench were vetted by Rove, and Bush loyalists were hand-selected to serve as U.S. Attorneys. Studies have shown that prosecutions were brought against Democrats at a rate of seven-to-one over Republicans during the Bush regime. Many of those prosecutions were completely political, amounting to hundreds of ruined political careers and the imprisonment of innocent people, such as my father.
I didn't know what I was going to say to Rove when and if I met him, but I felt I should say...something. Ironically enough, I was standing in the middle of the hall at the Charlotte Arena, waiting to meet a young man to introduce to my father for possible media coverage. That man was also named Karl. I didn't know what this Karl looked liked, so I was looking around to make eye contact with someone that I was supposed to meet.
Then, I saw Rove walking directly toward me with his security...
I took a deep breath and walked up to him with my hand outstretched. "Mr. Rove, I'm Dana Siegelman, Don Siegelman's daughter."
That's all I got out before he started shaking his finger close to my face, and threatened: "You tell your dad, if he keeps using my name to make money, I'm going to press charges!"
I wanted to say, "MONEY?! You're the one that wrote a chapter about my dad in your book! My dad doesn't even have a book!"
But I didn't get the chance. He literally skirted away as fast as he could. I glanced at his security, who looked disturbed and sad as he followed after Rove. I couldn't believe it. I met Bush's Brain at the DNC.
Here is an interview I did with The Young Turks' Michael Shure immediately after my encounter with Rove.
Today, my mother, brother and I are driving my father 455 miles away from our home in Birmingham, AL to federal prison, where he must report by tomorrow to begin serving the remaining time in his sentence. He has been sentenced to serve almost 6 more years, after accounting for the 9 months he spent in jail previously, until he was finally allowed to be released, pending his appeal. His case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear it. So now he will be locked away for years, save for a Presidential pardon, for something that has never before been considered a crime in this country: receiving a "bribe" which did not include even one penny of self-enrichment.
We may have as little as four months to convince President Obama, while we know that he will be serving in office, that a great injustice has occurred --- not only to my dad, but to hundreds (if not thousands) of Americans. I hope in those four months, that the President will do the right thing and pardon my father and the others who have been unjustly charged with political crimes under the administration of George W. Bush and his brain, Karl Rove.
Also, I would love to know what you would have said to Karl Rove had it been you! For that matter, I wonder what Fox' Neil Cavuto says to Fox' paid contributor Karl Rove when they run into each other, especially since, as the following interview with my dad at last week's DNC shows, even Cavuto seems to understand the terrible injustice that has gone on here...
After watching the video above, Marilyn Noyes, a great supporter of my father's plight, wrote the following:
If even Fox gets it, shouldn't the President? I can only hope so. But we need your help to make sure he does. Please sign the pardon petition to help the President understand that you get it too.