Tuesday, October 05, 2004
On this day:

Thoughts on Siegelman (D.-Tuscaloosa)

Whether or not Don Siegelman (D. - Tuscaloosa) violated the law in the bid-rigging scheme for which conspiracy charges were dropped today, the whole shenanigan illustrates how corruption can so easily flourish in Alabama. It points to major flaws in the system of checks and balances between the branches of state government. It shows that the system of budgeting and appropriations lends itself to under-the-table dealmaking between legislators and executive branch officials, making a mockery of public accountability.

There is no doubt that a conspiracy was exposed by prosecutors in this case, whether or not it was criminal. The Governor and his staff intervened in the competitive bidding process in order to award a lucrative contract to a friend of Mr. Siegelman (D-Tuscaloosa). The conspiracy involved many different people, from the Governor himself to the University of Alabama administration to Alabama legislators to the good Dr. Phillip Bobo. And, the outcome sends a message to Alabama politicians that it is still oh, so easy to get away with this kind of thing.