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

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


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/17/art.rove1.gi.jpg caption="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. The Voice

    Honestly, if Rover ever does testify, this is how it will go:

    House Dems: Mr. Rove, did you use the influence of your office to determine the outcome of this trial?

    Rove: No, sir.

    House Republicans: That's good enough for me!

    House Dems: Harumph! Harumph! Repeat Harumphs for three more hours, then "You're excused, Mr. Rove."

    Rove, just like the rest of them, will go unpunished. But I think just looking the way Rove does is punishment enough- he looks like a popped tick.

    I'm just waiting for someone to bring warcrimes charges on Bush and Cheney- let's see how (and what) our Government does then.

    April 17, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. Huntingdon PA

    Isn't this man suppose to be in prison?

    April 17, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  3. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Rove ought to run on a ticket with Hillary. I realize that his is the
    Rupublican party but they have similar tactics. Fierce, nasty, go
    for the juglar, win at any cost. Watch out for Rove. He has some
    tricks to deceive the Democrats. We know!! Right?

    April 17, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  4. Huhhh?

    Josef – The real idiot in this is the Alzheimer's victim McCain. There is an illiterate old fool ....
    I thought this story was about Rove, why bring John McCain into this?

    April 17, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |

    If you people spent 1/10 of your lives in a productive manner...say like working.. instead of whining and crying about Karl Rove you and this country would be far better off!

    The dems spent 5 trillion dollars and 40 years fighting the war on poverty and we are still stuck in that quagmire! You libs feel great that billions are spent to help the poor, billions are spent on schools...cause its for the children, billions are being spent on social security. how much of your paycheck are you willing to give up? i am way beyond my limit. the percentage of poor is the same now as it was in the 50's. In fact, we probably could have made every "poor" person a millionaire with what we have spent. Our children are falling behind the world in every education category despite the trillions we throw at the schools each year and the program called social security has become the retirement program that none of the original drafters of the law intended. It alone will bankrupt our children...working so you mooching libs dont have to plan for your future.

    the government cant get anything right. the government cant do anything efficiently. the government cant make your life better...only you can and until you understand and embrace that concept, you will be a pi$$ed off welfare rat waiting for your next handout.

    if for some reason you think i am republican, you are correct. however i am conservative first. the power hungry inbreeds that occupied the last congress were no better and often times worse than the power hungry dems before them and our current collection of power hungry libs. pulosi...reed, what a joke! god help us all if the small town bashing, chicago criminal dealing, home grown terrorist befriending, racist pastor loving candidate gets elected. worse yet, the pathetic, bosnia tall tale telling, it takes a village writing, I cant stand up to my man but believe me i can stand up to those bad guys in the middle east spouting, lennin loving socialist yankee fan gets back in the whitehouse.

    as for mccain, might as call him mcdem...

    April 17, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Hannity, Rove, Stephanopolus, Charlie Gibson, Rush Limbaugh,
    Ann Coulter,
    must be best friends. Do you think?

    April 17, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  7. TheLeftNut

    Rove looks like me

    April 17, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  8. Real people for real man.

    Rove should answer what he knows and what he did so that Hillary will also learn from it.

    Hillary is campaigning Mccain style or Republican style of campaign and democrats don't want a big destraction.
    Again Hillary focus on attacks not attacking on issues or ideas ,but on misspoke, little misstakes something she also catch on in a negative tone.
    Hillary herself made more misstakes than Obama, but she won't let Obama's misstake to be a mare misstakes. She has used Obama misstakes as her line on campaign and she has more lies or fablication during this campaign than Obama.

    It is sad if the supperdelegates failed to stop this kind of bitterness among these 2 candidates NOW. ITCLEAR HILLARY WILL NOT RECOVER TO BEAT OBAMA WHO IS AHEAD IN POPULIRITY COUNT, MORE VOTES AND MORE WINS.

    April 17, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  9. Tanya K


    April 17, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  10. FEDUP

    Maybe he and Bush can support Obama too. Too bad they are not superdelegates. Republicans for Obama, go Osama

    April 17, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  11. robert beaty


    April 17, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  12. Doreen

    Bush and his cohorts have always been a mean, nasty group. Siegelman was a Democrat and innocent and they manufactured evidence and lies against him for political gain and sent him to prison. I hope that Bush and Rove and all the other Republicans involved in these schemes against the Democrats go to prison for life.

    April 17, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  13. Jacob Renshaw

    The True Colors of Hillary Clinton:


    April 17, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  14. John Smith

    What hope is left when even someone like Dick Chaney can come out to mock Hillary about the "sniper fire" lies!!

    The Dems really know how to lose. The Republicans want so much to run against Hillary, their patience is running out. So, they will send people out in large numbers to vote for Hillary now!! The Republicans always outfox the Dems; and this time, I cannot wait to see. God Bless us All!

    April 17, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  15. jaci in oregon

    no one could ever say rove is divisive, he is the great uniter more than any other person in america--EVERYONE hates the monster, (including himself)!

    he's as guilty as he is a bloated POS!!!!

    April 17, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  16. jms

    Rove should be in prison for all the laws that he has broken along wiht Bush and Cheney.

    April 17, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  17. Debbie

    He is going to be testifying more than that if they start investigating Bush and his administration.

    April 17, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  18. patrick

    fry that pig

    April 17, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  19. chris isner

    Ask not for whom the bell tolls, fatboy.

    April 17, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  20. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Rove would send his mother to prison for life if he would make
    money and it would build up his big fat lying ego.

    April 17, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  21. Pepsiholic

    Didn't a jury of his peers convict him? Don't you just hate inconvenient facts?

    April 17, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  22. christi


    April 17, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  23. Unreadable

    Rove did everything he denies. Of course, everything he doesn't deny he did, too.

    April 17, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  24. MD

    He knows he's guilty. He'll find some way to weasel his way out of it.

    April 17, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  25. Cowboy Jack

    If Bush prevents Rove from testifying, the House Judiciary should just wait until 1/21/09 when Hillary will gladly approve of his testifying

    April 17, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
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