Karl Rove Accused of Trying to Solicit Sexually Compromising Pictures of Democrat

Karl Rove has been accused by Republican operative in Alabama of asking her to procure sexually compromising pictures of Alabama’s Democratic governor Don Siegelman. Jill Simpson’s allegations are particularly interesting because Siegelman was eventually convicted for bribery in a case that has drawn considerable criticism that it was politically motivated. However, the case against Siegelman was based on some very damaging testimony of a pay-to-play culture in his office. The new allegations are likely to increase calls for a renewed investigation.

Simpson’s allegations were made to Scott Pelley and CBS 60 Minutes. For the segment, click here. On the program, she recalls a 2001 meeting where Rove asked her to get pictures of Siegelman “[i]n a compromising, sexual position with one of his aides.” Siegelman was obviously a barrier to GOP plans having hold all four elective state offices: Attorney General, Secretary of State, Lieutenant Governor and Governor.

On its face, the bribery charge seemed weak. It was based on his appointment of Richard Scrushy to the Alabama hospital regulatory board. Scrushy is the former HealthSouth chief executive and previously held his non-paying position and there was no personal financial benefit to Siegelman. Siegelman was accused of trading such favors for contributions to his campaign or foundation for 1999 to 2003 and 1995 to 1999. Both Scrushy and Siegelman were convicted.

The trial put him in court shortly before the election, which he lost to the GOP.

The “pay-to-play” scheme included some very damaging testimony from prior aides and associates, including former Siegelman aide Nick Bailey and lobbyist Lanny Young. One witness, toll bridge developer Jim Allen, testified that Siegelman told him during his 1998 campaign for governor that “[i]f you would give me $40,000, I’ll let you pick the next highway director.”

Siegelman ultimately appointed an associate of Allen to the position. There was also testimony of various gifts to Siegelman and his aides.

Notably, prosecutors tried unsuccessfully to try Siegelman in 2004 for a Medicaid fraud case, but a court threw those charges out.

The bribery case against Siegelman as drawn a remarkable amount of criticism from proscecutors and defense attorney as well as Republicans and Democrats. In a letter to Congress, 52 former states’ attorneys general from both political parties called for an investigation.

However, Rove’s alleged involvement adds a new and sinister element to the case. Siegelman hardly seems that a poster boy for good politics. Yet, trawling for dirty pictures would reinforce a view of the case as politically inspired.

For the full story, click here

15 thoughts on “Karl Rove Accused of Trying to Solicit Sexually Compromising Pictures of Democrat”

  1. Hey, DW! 🙂 Got any links for the columns you mentioned? I’d like to read more about this case, and how this happened. Particularly what their evidence was that Mr. Siegelman was guilty of the charges against him.

    If their case against Mr. Siegelman was so “solid,” why did it take so long to produce the transcript? If he IS actually guilty of bribery, mail fraud and obstruction of justice then he should serve the sentence. But right now, I have to admit to having strong doubts that he is.

  2. Susan,

    Hi 🙂

    The case is one of the most amazing narratives I have encountered.

    I hope that justice will be done, even if it means the Governor going back behind bars.

    But in the end, what is significant here is not a putatively corrupt politician. What is significant is the array of forces and tactics deployed to neutralize him and the use of agencies of the federal and state governments to carry on an essentially partisan hit job.

    And it was repeated recently with another troublesome governor with unparalleled coarseness and dispatch.

    If you want to follow the full story: there are two sites that have extensive information. Scott Horton’s column at Harper’s Magazine and the AtLargely site.

  3. Deeply Worried wrote:
    To quote a great American:

    “Whooooooooohoooooooooooo!”
    ***************

    Totally agree, I was delighted to hear the “breaking news” story on VERDICT this evening. And this was the first time I heard what Mr. Siegelman was actually convicted of. The whole “case” sounds fishy to me, especially when the actual transcript wasn’t produced for 18 months.

  4. !!!!!!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/27/us/27cnd-alabama.html?hp

    Court Orders Release of Ex-Governor From Prison

    By ADAM NOSSITER
    Published: March 27, 2008

    ” MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The former governor of Alabama, Don Siegelman, was ordered Thursday to be released from prison on bond by a federal appeals court, pending his broader appeal in a bribery conviction last June… “

  5. I guess the point is not that there necessarily are quid pro quos involved in either case, but that this type of thing goes on all the time. Think of how many campaign contributors get appointments to ambassadorships, etc. Very common practice.

    What is striking about the Spiegelman case is that this common practice was criminalized and in Spiegelman’s case, there was no direct benefit to the governor at least in the children’s lottery contribution instance.

  6. As to the complaint against Siegelman: he received a check for a children’s education lottery and in return re-appointed the donor to a post he had held under previous administrations.

    The consider this: There is an Office of Government Ethics in our federal TOE. And the current Director is Robert Cusick, a Bush appointee, a fine man and well-liked by many. This office gives out advisory opinions on ethics issues: their usual memos deal with conflict of interests, divestiture, etc. They help safeguard the ethics of the Federal workforce.

    Robert Cusick?

    “In his spare time, Bates raises money for [Mitch] McConnell. Louisville lawyer Robert Cusick said Bates approached him and several colleagues last year and urged them to give money to McConnell’s re-election fund. Cusick gave $2,500.

    Months later, Cusick said, McConnell wrote him a recommendation letter, and President Bush named him to direct the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, a post he desired. Cusick said he does not think his donation prompted the offer. The Senate confirmed Cusick this year. McConnell introduced him as “a man of wisdom, character and judgment.”

    full story is linked here:

    http://www.kentucky.com/233/story/11064.html

    Now if the logic that was used on Spiegelman is used here: then who goes to the prison in handcuffs and leg irons: McConnell or Bush?

    And why is the director of the OGE here on the recommendation of a Senator to whom he priorly made a campaign contribution?

    The fun never stops.

  7. And Siegelman is still not allowed to talk to reporters!

    And the check was cut AFTER Bayley testified receiving it, and thats the only evidence the prosecution had, besides the latter’s uncorroborated testimony.

    This kind of corruption of the prosecutorial system makes my blood boil.

    Scalia was recently discussing with counsel, the “bad old days”. He was referring to the Court finding causes for action in legislation that didn’t explicitly mention it.

    But I would argue that this kind of rank partisan prosecution is the real “Bad Old Days” and the DOJ should move quickly to set things aright.

    But they won’t of course.

  8. I saw the story too, DW. A former governor immediately taken away in shackles? You better believe it was personal!

    It’s not just Alabama, either.

    Alabama GOP disputes ex-campaign worker’s claims

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/5566317.html

    WASHINGTON — A former Republican campaign volunteer in Alabama told CBS’s 60 Minutes of what she viewed as a secret five-year campaign to ruin former Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman, a claim aired Sunday that was denounced as a fabrication by the state GOP.

    Party officials said Jill Simpson, a lawyer who has now left the Republican Party, was no more than a low-level volunteer for individual campaigns, if anything, and would not have had access to the kind of information she alleged on Sunday’s 60 Minutes episode.

  9. Finished watching the 60 Minutes segment…it was very brief and covered only 20% of what’s going on down in that state, but it is a start and I hope we see a grand jury called on this.

  10. Me too, DW!

    All 52 States’ AG signed – how exciting is that?

    Wooooooooohooooooooo!

    I know what I’m watching Sunday at 7pm – CBS 60 Minutes and Scott Pelley.

  11. I am very happy this topic has been posted. The use of US attorney generals in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida, in politically motivated prosecutions is now fairly well documented.

    An individual named Scott Horton has been researching this area and his researches are available at Harpers.

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