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Monday, August 25, 2008

Siegelman Shines Spotlight on Rove at Convention

Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman asked Colorado Democrats today to push for a contempt citation against former Bush White House advisor Karl Rove.

Siegelman spoke to the 70 delegates at a kickoff breakfast for the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Two Colorado Congressmen attended the meeting and split on Siegelman's proposal. One, Rep. Ed Perlmutter, said he would enthusiastically vote for a contempt citation. The other, Rep. John Salazar, said his main focus is on winning the November election. "I've never been one for digging up bones," Salazar said.

It seems certain that's the kind of limp-wristed response that Republicans want to hear.

After the speech, Siegelman made a sheet of information available to delegates as to how they could contribute to his effort to clear his name.

Glynn Wilson, at Locust Fork World News & Journal, provides an overview of the Siegelman speech and offers a reply for the John Salazars in the Democratic Party. Writes Wilson:

We say what good is winning elections if the Constitution is trampled in the process? Some Democrats are willing to sell their soul to the company store. You?

Steven Rosenfeld, of Alternet, covered Siegelman's talk on Sunday night at an election integrity panel in Denver. Here is an excerpt from that talk:

I am from Alabama. I know something about how votes are suppressed. I know how those in power seek to control elections.

The spirit of the civil rights movement was not deterred by police dogs. The spirit of the civil rights movement was not beaten back by billy clubs, or dampened by the water cannon. The spirit of that movement was built upon the belief that every person should have the right to vote, and that those votes should be counted.

And we watched this country come from a place where woman and slaves, African-Americans could not vote, where they built into state constitutions that you had to be white, male and 21 and own 40 acres of land or be married to somebody who owned 40 acres of land to vote. Then we came up with the poll tax and hard questions, and they were designed to keep people from being able to register to vote. And later we became more sophisticated, when votes were stolen. Dead people were voted so they could swing elections at the tail end of elections on Election Day. And then there were prosecutions of African-Americans who were activist in their community, trying to get people to register to vote or cast absentee ballots. And now we have come to the point when we are becoming even more sophisticated, requiring photo IDs that put an added burden on some people, particularly those who happen to vote democratic.

And then there is this new wave, or process, of trying to control elections, which is the electronic manipulation of the vote. And I think that Rove has come up with a new one, which is using the federal indictment and prosecution process as a way to eliminate his political enemies.

I'm going to be at this convention, and my sole purpose here is to see that Karl Rove does not walk away quietly into the sunset. The U.S. Congress has a duty and an obligation to dig for the truth. The House Judiciary Committee has votes that Karl Rove be held in contempt for failing to show up after having been subpoenaed to testify before the Judiciary Committee about my case and about the firing of the U.S. Attorneys.

Karl Rove has refused to show up. Congress now has an obligation to vote on that contempt citation. The full House must be encouraged to bring that up for a vote when they come back in September. To do otherwise, is to say to the American people that we have two standards of justice. One for the powerful and those connected to the White House, and another for the rest of us.

Karl Rove should be made to show up before the Judiciary Committee, just like you or I or any of the members of our family members would have to do if we were subpoenaed. And he can either answer truthfully. He can lie under oath or he can plead the fifth -- and it does not matter to me. But to do otherwise is to also send a message to Rove's band of right-wing extremists who have participated in this conspiracy to abuse power and use the Department of Justice to win elections to gain and maintain power. And frankly, that would be a terrible disservice to our democracy.

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