Profiles In Politicization: 60 Minutes Finally Airs Siegelman Story
60 Minutes finally aired the Siegelman prosecution story last night. Everywhere except the northern third of Alabama, where the Bass family apparently owns the airwaves and refused to show the report. As Larisa notes, this may be the same Bass family which was involved in the Harken Energy fiasco. Cozy.
[AG Woods] leveled a series of blistering accusations at the Bush Administration’s Justice Department. With the Alabama G.O.P. this evening issuing a near-hysterical statement in which it characterizes the CBS broadcast—before its transmission—as an anti-Republican attack piece it was notable that Woods, like the piece’s other star witness, is a Republican….
Attorney General Woods has this to say about the Bush Justice Department’s prosecution of Siegelman: “I personally believe that what happened here is that they targeted Don Siegelman because they could not beat him fair and square. This was a Republican state and he was the one Democrat they could never get rid of.”
In other words, not being able to beat Siegelman at the polls, Woods believes that his own party corruptly used the criminal justice process to take out an adversary….
As Scott says, the crux of this whole hypocritical, selective prosecution is as follows:
Indeed, Karl Rove pursued financing for the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2000 and again in 2004 by organizing a special elite status—called “Pioneers” and “Rangers”—for persons who donated or raised $100,000 or more for the campaign. These donors understood that if they wanted to be appointed to a government office, like an ambassadorship, they only had to ask for it.
So how many Bush-Cheney donors in amounts of one hundred thousand and more were appointed to government offices or to positions in the Bush-Cheney transition team? The answer is one hundred and forty-six (146). And in how many of those cases did the Justice Department initiate investigations of corruption? The answer is zero (0). The Justice Department’s rationale is that this crime is one that can be committed by Democrats alone. When a Republican does it, it’s normal campaign fundraising.
But even if we accept that it’s possible for the Bush Department to create a new category of “Democrats Only” Crimes, we still have the basic fact that the evidence on which the Siegelman conviction was secured was false, and was known by the prosecutors to be false from the beginning….
Disgusting. And who pops up as Karl Rove’s laywer? Yes, indeedy, it’s Gold Bars Luskin.
"Mr. Rove never made such a request to her or anyone else," Luskin said in an email to The Associated Press. "Had ’60 Minutes’ taken the trouble to contact Mr. Rove before circulating this falsehood, he would have told them the same thing."
In its statement, CBS said Rove declined to speak with "60 Minutes."
Credible, that one. Luskin’s up to his old spin the media, and hope no one bothers to check the facts tricks again (you remember that from the Libby days, don’t you?)…unfortunately for him, people are. Larisa Alexandrovna, whose reporting on the DOJ’s fumbling denials has been stellar, had this to say about Rove’s pressure tactics on the media of late:
As 60 Minutes was putting its show together, the White House put pressure on CBS — the parent company — to kill the show. Over the last few days, as word got out that the 60 Minutes show would air tonight, Karl Rove’s associates began planting defamatory stories about journalists working on this story (see example here) and attacking the whistle-blower who came forward, Dana Jill Simpson. If you recall, Ms. Simpson testified, under oath, to Congress about Karl Rove’s involvement in politicizing the DOJ. What you may not know, however, is that her house mysteriously caught fire and she was run off the road in the weeks leading up to her testimony.
What you may also not know is that Governor Siegelman’s house was broken into twice during his trial as was his attorney’s office.
Yesterday, the attacks on Simpson and journalists increased with a series of emails from the Alabama GOP. See Here….
Prosecutors should never, ever go after someone for political purposes. Ever. Anyone who would seek to use the enormous power of prosecutorial office — sinking its reputation for justice and fairness for the common good, and warping its quasi-judicial responsibility to weigh facts against what is just — ought to be brought to the bar of justice themselves.
No one, and I mean no one, should ever use a prosecution for personal political gain. Period. That sort of manipulative smarm is not only antithetical to what "justice" means, but it taints the entire process with a coat of slime that decent prosecutors will be working to undo for years — which puts communities at risk because juries will suspect a taint even where there is none.
That the Bush Administration would do so shows a calculated and wholesale disrespect for the rule of law and basic tenets of decency in government. That they would do so on occasion after occasion — permeating the Department of Justice with politicized cronies? Shows a calculated plan to undermine the legal process for personal gain. And that is unforgiveable. It puts at risk the entire system of justice on which our government was founded by tainting the entire process from start to finish.
And that endangers all of us.
(YouTube is a little Joan Jett, "Bad Reputation." Seemed fitting.)