A Pardon for Don Siegelman

(Don Siegelman | Source: Birmingham News)

Tom DeLay said his felony conviction was overturned because he kept the “joy of Jesus” in his heart.

Providentially, that is, two Republican state appellate judges in Texas decided that the $190,000 in soft (corporate) money that DeLay’s Texas PAC sent to a Republican national PAC, which returned $190,000 in hard money (contributions from individuals) to seven candidates running for the Texas House, was not money laundering.

Consider the appeals court’s analysis of facts:

There is no way former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay loses if his case is heard by the nine elected Republican justices on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. There is no such legal recourse for former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.

“As stated above, the RNSEC [Republican National State Elections Committee] issued the checks from a separate, segregated hard money account—which did not include corporate money.”

Evidently, District Judge Pat Priest erred when he said, “You can’t take money out of one pocket and put it in another pocket then say it isn’t the same money.”

The money helped elect a Republican majority in the Texas House, which redrew the state’s congressional districts to increase the Republican House majority in Washington.

And there is no way DeLay loses if his case is heard by the nine elected Republican justices on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

There is no such legal recourse for former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, serving six and a half years in a federal penitentiary. His conviction in Alabama federal court was so egregious a bipartisan group of 113 former and incumbent state attorneys general petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn it.

Siegelman was prosecuted for elevating HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy to the chair of a hospital regulatory board on which he already was serving—after Scrushy donated $500,000 to a Siegelman PAC promoting a state lottery to provide college tuition for Alabama kids.

The Siegelman case was directed from Washington and influenced by Bush operative Karl Rove. The U.S. attorney who indicted Siegelman and initiated his prosecution is married to Bill Canary, an Alabama political consultant who worked with Rove. The judge who presided over the 2006 trial is a George W. Bush appointee whom Siegelman had investigated for financial improprieties when Siegelman was Alabama’s attorney general. The judge also held lucrative Defense Department contracts. All this is old news.

Siegelman mailed me a press release when DeLay’s conviction was overturned. “[DeLay], working in concert with his Republican co-conspirators, began laundering thousands of dollars through his Texas ARMPAC to a front group called the Alabama ARMPAC, a political action committee to funnel money to my opponent.”

Proof can be found, the former governor wrote, in disclosure documents filed with the Alabama Secretary of State and the Federal Elections Commission.

Scrawled at the top of the press release is the note: “DeLay’s acquittal drove me nuts—DS.”

Siegelman’s prosecution has driven a lot of people nuts. His only recourse is a presidential pardon. His daughter is soliciting signatures to persuade President Obama to pardon him. You can find out more at donsiegelman.org.


Lou Dubose is the editor ofThe Washington Spectator.