eSSENTIAL READING: Don Siegelman

Stealing Our Democracy: How the Political Assassination of a Governor Threatens Our Nation by Siegelman, Don

 Foreword by John Farmer, Jr.  former federal prosecutor.

Siegelman was prosecuted under the “theft of honest services” statute.   Farmer says he was aware of the “potential breadth of the “theft of honest services” statute, and had worried about its potential for partisan abuse.”

  Siegelman spent “…over seven years in federal prison for conduct that is engaged in every day by politicians of both parties and has been throughout our history.”

 His appeal was denied by a Supreme Court that acknowledged, in a subsequent case, that “theft of honest services,” could mean anything the prosecutor decides.

 … state Attorneys General joined Don in his request for clemency. It was denied by President Obama who, like all presidents, appointed people as ambassadors whose sole qualification was that they had raised millions of dollars to support the president’s campaign. No one has suggested that our presidents be prosecuted or impeached for this practice.

 The Governor accepted a $ 250,000 contribution to the campaign committee supporting the lottery raised by Richard Scrushy, a prominent businessman.

  Governor Siegelman reappointed Scrushy to an unpaid health care advisory board to which he had been appointed by three prior Governors of both parties.

 Neither Governor Siegelman nor any of his family nor his election campaign benefited one penny from the contribution. Scrushy, for his part, who had supported Don’s opponent in the governor’s race, was without question qualified to sit on the board to which he was reappointed.

 Stealing Our Democracy tells the story of the politics that destroyed Don’s career and nearly ruined his life.

 …it is hard to escape the conclusion, that Governor Siegelman’s true “crime” was winning a statewide election as a liberal Democrat in Alabama.

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