The New York Times 5/1/07           “It appears they were looking for ways to get him.”
The government charged the pair with a crime that hasn't been a crime in Alabama, or anywhere.
Countless contributors to political campaigns end up holding some kind of public office just as Mr.
Scrushy did. Why did that activity suddenly become a crime in Alabama? The judge and prosecutors
saw beyond the law and convinced jurors the two committed a crime. The case smells of politics just
as the alleged political firing of the U.S. attorneys is troubling, so is this case because the suspicions
go to the heart of our system of self-governance. Congress should look beyond those firings and
into this case.
[The Decatur Daily, Editorial, 4/26/07]                                                           
< link to full article>
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Sponsored by Friends of Don Siegelman  2007
<feedback>________________________________________________________________________________
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$100,000 contributors to President Bush's campaign are frequently
rewarded with ambassadorships. Is there one rule for people
connected to the "party in power," and another for those not?
..................................................................................................................................................

U.S. Attorneys Scandal - Birmingham and
Montgomery
by Scott Horton Harper's June 17 2007

Moreover, let’s compare the allegations against Siegelman with
Abramoff’s funneling of millions in campaign contributions from Native
American tribes in Mississippi into the political coffers of Siegelman’s
opponent—Alabama Governor Bob Riley—going on at just this time. In
exchange, Riley was expected to intervene to shut down the gambling
aspirations of some of his own Alabama constituents. And Riley did
just as he was bade to do. Now that’s corruption. And what did the U.S.
Attorney in Montgomery, who brought the case against Siegelman, do
about that? Well, she seems to have actually been a potential actor in
connection with the corruption, having secured appointment to a
licensing board which would control the question. And her tight links to
Siegelman’s political nemesis, Riley, are uncontested. She is in fact
the wife of one of Karl Rove’s bosom buddies, a leading mover in the
Alabama GOP, William Canary.

<link to Harper's>

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Alabama Voices
by Julian McPhillips  Montgomery Advertiser

Why was it wrong to indict Richard Scrushy for bribery in the first
place? The supposed crime was that Scrushy, through HealthSouth,
made a major contribution to a lottery fund (not Gov. Siegelman's
campaign fund), in return for which Siegelman appointed Mr. Scrushy
to the Certificate of Need Board, which governs hospital expansions.

The indictment overlooked that Richard Scrushy previously served on
the CON board under three previous governors -- Guy Hunt, Jim
Folsom, Jr. and Fob James. The charges also ignored that Mr.
Scrushy didn't even want to be on this board. Instead, he saw it as
public service. More importantly, HealthSouth didn't need Mr. Scrushy
on the board, and the board passed nothing beneficial to HealthSouth
or Scrushy during Scrushy's term in question.

Further, the CON board did not, and does not, regulate HealthSouth,
nor does it regulate any other health care company in Alabama.

Significantly, neither of the two financial contributions at issue came
from Mr. Scrushy himself. The first came from a Maryland company,
Integrated Health Services, and went to the Alabama Education
Lottery Initiative -- not to Gov. Siegelman. The second came from
HealthSouth Corp. -- not Mr. Scrushy -- and went to the Alabama
Education Foundation (which acquired the debt of the failed lottery
initiative) and not to Gov. Siegelman.

Admittedly, Mr. Scrushy inspired these contributions, and they may
have gained him greater access to Siegelman generally. So what?
That is exactly what thousands of contributors to Gov. Riley's
campaign expect. It also is what state legislators expect their
contributors will receive, namely access. There is no law against this. It
is part of the democratic process.

No matter how philosophically opposed one may have been to
Siegelman's lottery (and Scrushy himself was opposed on anti-
gambling grounds), the lottery's ultimate goal was to bring badly
needed finances to public education, a highly worthwhile purpose.
Scrushy must be the first person in Alabama ever charged with, or
convicted of, contributing to a charitable foundation, and yet he was
not even the one who made the contribution.

Hypocrisy is a part of politics, but gross hypocrisy exists in the case of
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Does anyone really believe Mr.
Gonzales knew nothing about the firings of eight U.S. attorneys whose
primary sins were their hesitation to prosecute Democratic politicians?
No wonder bipartisan calls for Gonzales' resignation cite both
dishonesty and incompetence. This attorney general was appointed
by a Republican president supported by many wealthy campaign
contributors.

<link to Montgomery Advertiser>

.............................................................................................................
Trump made a payment of ten thousand dollars to
help Schwarzenegger “retire his campaign debts.”
Was that corrupt?

And the more we dig into this case, the more irregularities mount. Let’s
start with the charges against Siegelman. The main accusation is that
he appointed HealthSouth’s scandal-ridden CEO to a state oversight
board, and in exchange a donation was made to a not-for-profit
education foundation which was supporting Siegelman’s efforts to
secure a lottery to fund the state’s education system. You might very
well ask what would be corrupt about this, and you would be right to
ask. This is almost exactly the sort of accusation that the federal
prosecutor in Milwaukee, faced with Rove’s threat to fire him, brought
against Thompson – and that the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
labeled as “preposterous.” And indeed, it’s the sort of thing that
transpires in the American political environment every single day. For
instance, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared on a
Donald Trump television program recently, and Trump made a
payment of ten thousand dollars to help Schwarzenegger “retire his
campaign debts.” Was that corrupt?

<more>
Definition of Quid Pro Quo:

If a man takes a woman out on a date, or marries her and showers her
with gifts in hopes of a more intimate relationship, or sex, you might
say that he is paying for sex. However, this is not illegal and it is
socially acceptable. The woman remains a free agent able to respond
in any manner that she chooses. However, if the man and woman are
engaged in prostitution there is a quid quo pro - an explicit agreement
made to exchange specific things for specific services. This is illegal
when the law forbids it.

Likewise, many acceptable favors occur in politics. These favors are
typical, legal and acceptable. For example, Bush often awards an
ambassadorship to donors who contribute more than $100,000 to his
campaign. This is considered politics as usual. Such conduct becomes
illegal, or bribery,  when there is a quid quo pro - an explicit agreement
to exchange services, access and goods for other explicitly understood
services and goods.
<wikipedia>
Quid Pro Quo?
[Consider] Abramoff’s funneling
of millions in campaign
contributions from Native
American tribes in Mississippi
into the political coffers of
Siegelman’s opponent—
Alabama Governor Bob Riley.....
In exchange, Riley was expected
to intervene to shut down the
gambling aspirations of some of
his own Alabama constituents.
And Riley did just as he was
bade to do.
Now that’s
corruption
.

Scott Horton, Harper's No Comment
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