April 17th, 2008
07:15 PM ET
6 years ago

Rove asked to testify over ex-Alabama governor's prosecution

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Rove left the White House in 2007.
Rove left the White House in 2007.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A House committee Thursday asked former White House political adviser Karl Rove to testify about allegations that Bush administration officials pushed for federal prosecutions of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and other Democrats.

House Judiciary Committee leaders said it is "imperative" that Rove answer allegations that he pressed the Justice Department to investigate Siegelman, a Democrat who when indicted was preparing a rematch against Alabama's Republican governor in 2006.

"We look forward to scheduling an early date for your voluntary appearance," the committee's Democratic leaders wrote in a letter released Thursday.

Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, said Thursday that President Bush's onetime political mastermind "absolutely denies he was in any way involved in the decision to prosecute Don Siegelman." Luskin said he has had no direct communication the the Judiciary Committee's staff or its chairman, Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, and said the White House would have to decide whether Rove will be able to testify.

The probe grew out of the administration's controversial firings of eight U.S. attorneys in 2006. The White House has invoked executive privilege to keep Rove from testifying to Congress in that case.

Siegelman was sentenced to more than seven years in prison in 2007 after his conviction on bribery, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and mail fraud charges. Prosecutors accused him of running a "pay-for-play" scheme in which he exchanged official acts and influence for cash, property and services while serving as Alabama's governor from 1999 to 2003.

A federal appeals court ordered Siegelman released on bond in March, and he is scheduled to appear before the Judiciary Committee in May as part of an investigation into allegations that the Bush administration tried to influence the prosecutions of political opponents.

A Thursday report by the committee's Democratic staff recounted what it said is "extensive evidence" that Siegelman's prosecution "was directed or promoted by Washington officials."

And it cited three other cases - including that of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, coroner Cyril Wecht, a prominent forensic pathologist and an outspoken Democrat. Wecht was charged with 84 counts of wire fraud, mail fraud and theft in 2006, but the case was declared a mistrial earlier this month.

Rep. Lamar Smith, the committee's ranking Republican, called the staff report a rehash of "sensational allegations from unreliable witnesses and so-called academic studies." He said the Republican minority is still reviewing the document.

"Unfortunately, House Democrats are so intent on slandering the Bush administration that they willingly accept outlandish claims while questioning the honest work of career federal prosecutors," Smith, R-Texas, said in a written statement. "It may come as a surprise to some Democrats, but even Democratic office holders who have committed crimes must be held accountable.


Filed under: Karl Rove
soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. Steve, Seattle WA

    We already know how corrupt this administration is and has been. Why are we wasting our time and energy trying to make them answer to yet another allegation of misconduct? Are we to believe that we would get the truth this time? It's clear that impeachment is not nor will be on the table so let's just let this clown pack his bags and hit the road next January....enough said, enough done. Let's move on and get this country back on the right track!

    April 17, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  2. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Fox, Hannity Hired Him!!! Can you believe this man is being paid
    to trash Obama!!!

    April 17, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  3. jaci in oregon

    JA cook,

    that's why the best possible vote is for obama, he has already said all of these criminals WILL BE brought to justice, and NO PARDONS for any of them--shrub, rove, dickey boy, condi, rummy, the whole heap of "human" filth!!!!

    April 17, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  4. ABC is a joke

    Hey Rovie, does it feel good to lie?

    April 17, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  5. HAWK,TEXAS

    As long as bush can say presidential privlige no one will ever appear for testimony. this country will never straighten out until all republicans are out of office. look at tom delay. he hasen't come to trial yet. this crap about rove is the same stuff he pulled in texas to get bush elected governer.

    April 17, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  6. Ca Native

    GOOD LORD ... the house democrats are angry because a Democratic Governor was CONVICTED of crimes and sentenced???

    Yeah – go after Karl Rove because no Democrat has EVER done anything improper. It MUST be a dirty republican trick!!!!

    (eyes rolling)

    April 17, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  7. Bill

    I live in AL, and from what I have seen and read, the charges were politically motivated.

    That being said, Rove will never testify because he and Bush will claim executive privilege, just like all Bush's underlings have done to date.

    The truth will never see the light of day.

    April 17, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  8. CHERYL FOR HILLARY

    HILLARY LEADS IN THE POLLS!
    GO HILLARY!

    April 17, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  9. Madge, TX

    It's about time. Get this river rat before he crawls back in his hole.

    Disgusted American

    April 17, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  10. Dowd, MI

    America agrees on one thing–we hate Karl Rove.

    Get him.

    April 17, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  11. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    Does ANYBODY remember Rove's past? WHY in the world is he listened to??????

    April 17, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  12. The Rookie

    GUILTY! Period case closed!

    April 17, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  13. Deb, MN

    If Bush pardons this rat, I think he should be hauled in to testify. There's nothing like sealing your coffin than unjust pardons. Are you listening Bill Clinton?

    April 17, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  14. Apollyon

    Look people, Bush can only pardon someone that has been charged with somethng. Congress isn't going to charge anything until Bush is out of the picture. By this time next year he'll only be able to pardon himself from the room.

    April 17, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  15. Everett In Tuscaloosa, Alabama

    I am a Law/Political Science student at the University of Alabama. Some of my fellow students and I have looked at the Siegelman case for months. The man is innocent. There is obvious White House involvement written all over the case file. Karl Rove and George Bush have gone after an innocent man who did so much for our state. It is truly sad to see this, but the truth will come out. And hopefully it will involve Bush and Rove's indictment for tampering.

    April 17, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  16. THE REAL CHERYL FOR HILLARY!

    KARL ROVE IS CIRCLING OBAMA WAITING TO MOVE IN FOR THE KILL IF HE IS NOMINATED!!!!!!

    HE HAS NOTHING ON HILLARY!!!!!!

    HILLARY CLINTON 2009!!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  17. No Rove

    Don't ask this man any questions, just send him directly to Den Haag for the war crimes he has been involved in.

    April 17, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  18. THE REAL CHERYL FOR HILLARY!

    OBAMA IS A CROOK AND A LIAR!!!!!!!!!
    HILLARY WILL WIN!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  19. Anne E.

    One word: PERJURY. This person (and I use that term loosely) wouldn't know the truth if it clubbed him over the head.

    April 17, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  20. Mark Vale

    I figured a long time ago that Karl Rove was evil incarnate. That's why his still hanging around and behind the scenes with his misdeeds.

    April 17, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  21. THE REAL CHERYL FOR HILLARY!

    IF OBAMA HAS THIS THING IN THE BAG WHY ARE HIS PEOPLE GETTING THEIR UNDIES IN A BUNCH?

    CAN'T WAIT TILL THE 22ND!!!!!!!

    GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  22. Cynthia

    Maybe he will be tied up with the Don Siegelman inquiry and won't have time to add fuel to fire of the election.

    April 17, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  23. jimmy vekmen

    YOU CAN SAY ANYTHING ABOUT KARL ROVE BUT NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE MAN.
    LATELY HE HAS BEEN TALKING ON TV AND PROBING THE OBAMA
    CAMPAIGN AND HIS SPEECHES. IT AMAZES ME HOW THOROUGH
    KARL ROVE IS. IF KARL'S PROBING INTO THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN
    SPEECHES IS ANY INDICATION OF THE REPUBLICAN STRATEGY
    FOR THE GENERAL ELECTION. IT WILL BE ALMOST CERTAIN THAT THE GOP WILL UNLEASH EVRYTHING ON OBAMA (SHOULD HE BECOME THE NOMINEE) FROM THE TIME HE WAS A LEGISLATOR FROM ILLINOIS. IF HILLARY IS NOT ON THE DEMOCRATIC TICKET, THERE WILL BE AN AVALANCHE PILED ON OBAMA.

    April 17, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  24. Anne E.

    I, too, would've suggested water-boarding, but......can a whale be waterboarded? (With apologies to our endangered mammalian friends.) Oh, why not?? I'm sure someone out there is willing to give it the old college try......

    April 17, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  25. Lynette

    ROVE – The other four letter word!

    April 17, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
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