No Comment — December 17, 2007, 5:26 pm

Karl Rove, William Canary, and the Siegelman Case

A trio of reporters at Raw Story has just published further details relating to the involvement of Karl Rove in the campaign of Alabama Governor Bob Riley and in the effort to eliminate his chief rival, former Governor Don E. Siegelman, through a criminal prosecution. The story traces Rove’s involvement, largely via his long-time friend William Canary, in the 2002 Alabama gubernatorial race. Canary had initially advised the campaign of Lieutenant Governor Steve Windom, and only after his primary defeat turned to the Riley campaign. Raw Story reports:

According to the Alabama RNC source, Rove met regularly with operatives for the Riley campaign. The source’s allegations are confirmed in part by campaign disclosure forms, which show that Windom paid Canary as a consultant between 1999 and early 2001 and later received large contributions from Canary’s business partner, a pattern that is duplicated with Riley and Canary.

According to public records, Windom paid Canary’s firm $38,022 for consulting and polling between 1999 and 2001. At the same time, PACs associated with Canary’s business partner, Patrick McWhorter, donated heavily to Windom’s campaign, contributing $149,000 in 2001 and another $75,000 in 2002.

After Windom lost the primary, PACs associated with McWhorter and Canary switched their donations to Bob Riley, giving him $85,000 in the days immediately preceding the November election. After the election victory, Windom emerged immediately as a close confidant of Riley’s, advising him on the appointment of a new Insurance Commissioner, Walter A. Bell, and other matters. Canary also emerged as a key Riley advisor.

Public records also show that at the same time Canary was consulting for Bob Riley’s campaign, his lobbying group, the Business Council for Alabama, donated $678,000 to the campaign of his client. This was the third largest donation the campaign received, exceeded only by those from the Republican National State Elections Committee, for $2,475,000, and from Bob Riley himself, who contributed $1,070,000 to his own campaign.

Rove’s linkage to this campaign has been reported before and belongs to the insider’s account of Alabama politics—but Raw Story brings in considerable additional detail. The Rove involvement is unfolded with a flow chart showing the complex relationships. As Dan Abrams noted on his MSNBC report recently, Rove’s extensive campaign dealings in Alabama involve a large team, and the central figure in the process is certainly William Canary, the husband of the U.S. Attorney who brought the Siegelman prosecution. Rove and Canary go way back, certainly to Canary’s days on the Republican National Committee. Canary’s move down to Alabama seems to have been one of the factors that led Karl Rove to become much more deeply engaged in Alabama politics.

rovecanary

A great deal of this article lines up with what I have learned in six months of research on the Siegelman matter. For instance, two well-known Alabama Republicans described to me Rove’s involvement in the campaign to elect Perry Hooper to a judgeship. One of them detailed to me a meeting at which Hooper and Rove were present along with several Alabama G.O.P. operatives, including Mark Fuller (later to become the Siegelman judge), at which some very aggressive campaign tactics were discussed . . . but I’ll be reporting more on this later. Rove’s mastery of the Alabama political landscape was described as comprehensive and detailed. And a large part of Rove’s work consisted of advising his clients how to approach out-of-state funders. He believed that tort reform was the pivotal issue and that manufacturers’ associations would bring in the needed cash to fuel elections. On this as on so many electoral issues, Karl Rove was spot-on. His strategy worked, and the current Alabama Supreme Court, with 8 Republicans and 1 Democrat is proof of that. The Raw Story article also opens up the floorboards on some of this operation, especially as it unfolded into the time of the 2002 gubernatorial election, but this is a complex story yet to be fully unraveled. One thing certainly emerges both from this account and from the Senate probe headed by Senator McCain: Jack Abramoff and former Riley advisor Michael Scanlon, both now convicted felons, and both figures with ample connections to Rove, are right in the middle of it.

Today a federal judge directed that White House visitors’ logs were public records and could be turned-over. The White House is certain to challenge this ruling. Public access to visitors’ records has been a hotly contested issue for a number of reasons, and one of them is that Jack Abramoff claims to have paid hundreds of visits to the White House. President Bush has had a failure of memory with respect to Abramoff visits, but Time magazine says it has viewed a portfolio of portrait-style photographs with Abramoff and the President. Others in the White House have confirmed that Abramoff was a regular visitor. In law-enforcement interviews, Abramoff is said to have confirmed that he frequently met with Karl Rove outside of the White House so as to avoid being recorded in the visitors’ log. The Raw Story account details other meetings that Rove arranged outside the White House so as to avoid detection. Sources I have interviewed in studying the Siegelman story also place meetings with Rove in the offices of the Federalist Group and on street corners.

The Raw Story piece provides further detail of Rove’s involvement in the Riley campaign, as one of its chief strategists. One key element of that campaign was the use of a bogus federal criminal prosecution, undertaken by Leura Canary—the wife of Rove’s key connection, William Canary—and timed perfectly to match the election cycle. Republican operatives have now linked Rove directly to arrangements for that prosecution.

Still open to question: the details of Karl Rove’s dealings with prosecutors and Justice Department officials to arrange the political prosecution of Don Siegelman. Does anyone at this point seriously question why the White House and the Justice Department are pursuing a scorched-earth policy to block Congress’s requests for documents relating to this case and to records showing Karl Rove’s communications? They would almost certainly provide further evidence of what the external facts demonstrate.

But there is substantial additional evidence which will be shortly presented which will help to show why this prosecution was a complete farce from the beginning. Stay tuned, as the truth continues to seep out.

Update
Mark Crispin Miller has just put up a fascinating interview with Governor Siegelman in which he explains his grudge match with Karl Rove, the involvement of Karl Rove’s client, William Pryor in the theft of the 2002 Alabama gubernatorial election and how the Republicans launched a criminal prosecution to block him from seeking re-election.

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

Conversation August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm

Lincoln’s Party

Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln

Conversation March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm

Burn Pits

Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.

Context, No Comment August 28, 2015, 12:16 pm

Beltway Secrecy

In five easy lessons

Get access to 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

March 2020

The Old Normal

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Out of Africa

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Waiting for the End of the World

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In Harm’s Way

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Fifth Step

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A View to a Krill

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Old Normal·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Addressing the graduating cadets at West Point in May 1942, General George C. Marshall, then the Army chief of staff, reduced the nation’s purpose in the global war it had recently joined to a single emphatic sentence. “We are determined,” he remarked, “that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand and of overwhelming force on the other.”

At the time Marshall spoke, mere months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. forces had sustained a string of painful setbacks and had yet to win a major battle. Eventual victory over Japan and Germany seemed anything but assured. Yet Marshall was already looking beyond the immediate challenges to define what that victory, when ultimately— and, in his view, inevitably—achieved, was going to signify.

This second world war of the twentieth century, Marshall understood, was going to be immense and immensely destructive. But if vast in scope, it would be limited in duration. The sun would set; the war would end. Today no such expectation exists. Marshall’s successors have come to view armed conflict as an open-ended proposition. The alarming turn in U.S.–Iranian relations is another reminder that war has become normal for the United States.

Article
Waiting for the End of the World·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

1.

A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition, as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he.

I rose long before dawn, too thrilled to sleep, and set off to find my tribe. North from Greenville in the dark, past towns with names like Sans Souci and Travelers Rest, over the border into North Carolina, through land so choked by kudzu that the overgrown trees in the dark looked like great creatures petrified in mid-flight. The weirdness of this scene would, by the end of the weekend, show itself to be appropriate: my trip would be all about romanticism, and romanticism is a human collision with place that results, as Baudelaire put it, “neither in choice of subject nor exact truth, but in a way of feeling.” My rental car’s engine whined as it climbed the mountains. Day was just breaking when I nosed down a hill to Orchard Lake Campground, where tents were still being erected in the dimness.

Article
The Fifth Step·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Harold Jamieson, once chief engineer of New York City’s sanitation department, enjoyed retirement. He knew from his small circle of friends that some didn’t, so he considered himself lucky. He had an acre of garden in Queens that he shared with several like-minded horticulturists, he had discovered Netflix, and he was making inroads in the books he’d always meant to read. He still missed his wife—a victim of breast cancer five years previous—but aside from that persistent ache, his life was quite full. Before rising every morning, he reminded himself to enjoy the day. At sixty-eight, he liked to think he had a fair amount of road left, but there was no denying it had begun to narrow.

The best part of those days—assuming it wasn’t raining, snowing, or too cold—was the nine-block walk to Central Park after breakfast. Although he carried a cell phone and used an electronic tablet (had grown dependent on it, in fact), he still preferred the print version of the Times. In the park, he would settle on his favorite bench and spend an hour with it, reading the sections back to front, telling himself he was progressing from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Article
Out of Africa·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

1. In 2014, Deepti Gurdasani, a genetic epidemiologist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in England, coauthored a paper in Nature on human genetic variation in Africa, from which this image is taken. A recent study had found that DNA from people of European descent made up 96 percent of genetic samples worldwide, reflecting the historical tendency among scientists and doctors to view the male, European body as a global archetype. “There wasn’t very much data available from Africa at all,” Gurdasani told me. To help rectify the imbalance, her research team collected samples from eighteen African ethnolinguistic groups across the continent—such as the Kalenjin of Uganda and the Oromo of Ethiopia—most of whom had not previously been included in genomic research. They analyzed the data using an admixture algorithm, which visualizes the statistical genetic differences among groups by representing them as color clusters. The top chart shows genetic differences among the sampled African populations, in increasing degrees of granularity from top to bottom, and the bottom chart shows how they compare with ethnic groups in the rest of the world. The areas where the colors mix and overlap imply that groups commingled. The Yoruba, for instance, show remarkable homogeneity—their column is almost entirely green and purple—while the Kalenjin seem to have associated with many populations across the continent.

Article
In Harm’s Way·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Ten yards was the nearest we could get to the river. Any closer and the smell was too much to bear. The water was a milky gray color, as if mixed with ashes, and the passage of floating trash was ceaseless. Plastic bags and bottles, coffee lids, yogurt cups, flip-flops, and sodden stuffed animals drifted past, coated in yellow scum. Amid the old tires and mattresses dumped on the riverbank, mounds of rank green weeds gave refuge to birds and grasshoppers, which didn’t seem bothered by the fecal stench.

El Río de los Remedios, or the River of Remedies, runs through the city of Ecatepec, a densely populated satellite of Mexico City. Confined mostly to concrete channels, the river serves as the main drainage line for the vast monochrome barrios that surround the capital. That day, I was standing on a stretch of the canal just north of Ecatepec, with a twenty-three-year-old photographer named Reyna Leynez. Reyna was the one who’d told me about the place and what it represents. This ruined river, this open sewer, is said to be one of the largest mass graves in Mexico.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

The commissioner of CPB admitted that “leadership just got a little overzealous” when detaining hundreds of U.S. citizens of Iranian descent in the wake of Qassem Soleimani’s assassination.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Jesus Plus Nothing

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

Subscribe Today