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Siegelman, Rove saga continues

By By Bob Martin, The Alabama Scene
Last week I had a visit with Don Siegelman and four or five others at a Montgomery restaurant. Aside from being thinner than I remembered, he looked good and after all he’s been through, he still has a sense of humor.
He mentioned he was going to be in Orange Beach this week and I suggested he come by the opening-night reception of the Alabama Press Association’s summer convention scheduled for this Friday evening. The former governor used to make the claim that he had never missed one of the summer meetings since he first held public office. I suggested that he might want to pick up that streak again this July, to which he replied: “I thought I had a good excuse last year.”
The House Judiciary Committee gave former presidential advisor Karl Rove until Tuesday of this week to comply with the committee’s subpoena to testify or face “all other appropriate recourse,” which would include the House citing him with contempt and placing him under arrest.
At the hearing last Thursday members of the Subcommittee that summoned Rove spoke to an empty chair and then rejected Rove’s claim of executive privilege, saying that only the President could exert that privilege and that neither the President nor any member of the White House had raised the claim. “We are unaware of any proper legal basis for Mr. Rove’s refusal to appear today as required by subpoena. No court has ever held that presidential advisers are immune from compulsory process…in any setting.” the committee wrote in its findings.
So it appears Rove could end up in court or perhaps jail.
Siegelman’s only comment after Rove’s no show: “Karl Rove did not show up on July 10 and chose to defy a subpoena from the U.S House Judiciary Committee. He chose the possibility of being put in jail for contempt of Congress rather than testify under oath about my case. How clear does it have to get?”
On another front in the Siegelman matter, Attorney General Mukesey told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) has made Siegelman’s claim of selective prosecution a top priority.
Asked if he thought someone in the Justice Department should ask Karl Rove whether he was involved in pushing the Siegelman prosecution forward, Mukesey said he thought that depended on the facts found by OPR.
The attorney general told the committee that he has given the case sufficient resources and that he believes it will be completed before the Bush term ends next January.
Unsubstantiated rumors?
In my entire life I have never seen anything spread as quickly as the rumor that was initiated last week alleging that a male state public official had engaged in same sex misbehavior. To say that the information “spread like a wildfire” is a significant understatement.
And while none of the mainstream media, at least through Sunday, had mentioned the matter, it is everywhere on the blogsphere, including mainstream sites such as al.com, the web site of The Birmingham News, Huntsville Times and Mobile Press Register, and also The Montgomery Advertiser.
The first whispers to emerge early last week were that the state official planned to resign. That had not happened as of Sunday evening. Former Lt. Gov. Steve Windom and political consultant Chris Brown told the Political Parlor web site that the named official would not resign. State GOP Communications Director Philip Bryan told the web site, that he had not heard any plans that the official in question was going to resign.
Other information I have heard is that the official would make some statement early this week. Stay tuned.
It is truly sad that these rumors are generated in the first place and particularly cruel if they are untrue. I know the individual involved and have always thought him to be a moral and upright family man. I will be very disappointed if I find out the opposite. So will a lot of other folks. That is why I will not mention his name until he takes the opportunity to speak for himself. If the rumor is untrue and I was asked to give him advice, it would be to speak out soon and often.
Bob Martin is editor and publisher of The Montgomery Independent. E-mail him at: bob@montgomeryindependent.com

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