Friday, May 2, 2008

House committee threatens Rove with subpoena

House committee threatens Rove with subpoena


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The House Judiciary Committee threatened Thursday to subpoena former White House adviser Karl Rove if he does not agree by May 12 to testify about former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman's corruption case.

In a letter to Rove's attorney, committee Democrats called it "completely unacceptable" that the Republican political strategist has so far rejected the committee's request for sworn testimony even as he discusses the matter publicly through the media.

"We can see no justification for his refusal to speak on the record to the committee," the letter states. "We urge you and your client to reconsider ... or we will have no choice but to consider the use of compulsory process."

Since last year, Democrats on the committee have been investigating whether Rove and other Republicans influenced Siegelman's prosecution on bribery and other charges. Siegelman, a Democrat, was convicted in 2006 and sentenced to more than seven years in prison last year.

Rove, who frequently worked in Alabama politics before orchestrating President Bush's White House campaigns, has flatly denied that he had anything to do with Siegelman's prosecution.

Citing executive privilege, the White House has consistently refused to let current or former staffers testify.

But as the White House has offered on other matters, Rove recently said he would discuss the Siegelman matter with committee staffers on the condition that his comments not be under oath and not be transcribed.

In their letter, Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., and several other lawmakers rejected the offer, saying such an interview "is an invitation to confusion and will not permit us to obtain a straightforward and clear record."

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