• Karl Rove Karl Rove
  • Rove's "Non-denial Denial" on ABC News
  • The Political Prosecutions of Karl Rove

Once considered “the architect” and “Bush’s brain”

It is hard to believe in 2017 that Karl Rove was considered a young genius or the “Architect” of anything. But at one time he was the Steve Bannon in the White House, the Paul Manafort of GOP election campaigns, and he could not be beat, he could do no wrong no matter how down and dirty the tricks he used to win. Today he is barely a player.

The “Dirty Tricks” legacy for which he was famous, preceded him in the Nixon White House and will not die despite his own professional decline.  The dirty tricks legacy lives on in old Rove pal, US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, whose use of the Judiciary is less than just and mostly self-serving. The dirty tricks legacy is alive and well in the appointed staff and advisors at the Trump White House, like Bannon and Manafort.

In 2007, Karl Rove reacted to the gathering clouds of pending Congressional investigations by resigning from his position at the White House. The Congressional Judiciary Committee had subpoenaed Rove for his participation in a number of white hot scandals. The committee wanted to question him about the Valerie Plame Affair, the Attorneys General scandal and last, but not least, his direction of the Don Siegelman Political Prosecution. This subpoena would be the beginning of the end for Rove, although his decline would be a long slow one. Many were amazed and disgusted that he avoided prison, but find a small satisfaction that he is personally more and more irrelevent.

Karl Rove & Don Siegelman

May 2008: On ABC News George Stephanopoulos asked Rove to comment on any involvement that Rove might have had in the prosecution of the former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. He said that “first of all, I learned about the Don Siegelman prosecution in the newspaper.” Stephanopoulos responded “But that is not a denial!”

A lifelong Alabama Republican operative pointed the finger at Rove, swearing under oath that Rove was the White House director of the Don Siegelman Prosecution. This sworn testimony became news when TIME/CNN featured the story online and as a cover story in the print magazine in June 2007. Rove had been plotting with Alabama GOP political activists in a conspiracy called “Operation 2010” since the ’90’s, with the political prosecution of  Siegelman being the biggest jewel in the tactical crown. Later, from his catbird seat in the White House, he continued to pull strings for the federal prosecution of Siegelman.

Rove claimed explicitly he knew nothing about the Siegelman Case when he was first accused of directing the Federal prosecution. Furthermore, he stated he had nothing to do with Alabama or its politics at all. More and more evidence, documentation and sworn testimony indicated that this was provably untrue.

Non-denial Denials

Rove had been through this before. He had many political clients in Texas whose opponents suddenly found themselves under investigation. When questioned about this in Texas, he always implied no involvement without specifically stating as much. In the case of political opponent, Jim Hightower, Rove was asked if he had directed the Hightower investigation. Rove dodged answering the question by claiming he learned about the prosecution from a local Texas newspaper.

What worked well in Texas should work in Alabama. Therefore, when asked about his involvement in the Siegelman prosecution, Rove inferred ignorance of the prosecution by claiming “I learned about the Don Siegelman prosecution in the newspaper.”


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How Rove Created a Republican Supreme Court in Alabama

Rove in the Corner in The Atlantic by Joshua Greene, 2004

More Tactics for Alabama Republican Supreme Court Takeover

Related Characters


  • Karl Rove

    Directed the Siegelman Prosecution from D.C.

  • Jack Abramoff

    Financed the “machine” that took out Siegelman

  • Michael Scanlon

    Helped Abramoff cheat the Choctaw and bribe officials

  • Grover Norquist

    Funneled gambling money from MS to Alabama GOP

  • Ralph Reed

    Laundered gambling money to Christian organizations

  • Judge Bill Pryor

    Initiated the investigation of Siegelman in ’99

  • Winton Blount III

    Hosting planning meeting for Siegelman prosecution

  • Leura Canary

    Alabama US Attorney appointed to “get” Siegelman

  • William Canary

    Brokered access between D.C. and Alabama GOP

  • Rob Riley

    One of the operatives central to the Siegelman Prosecution

  • Bob Riley

    Exploited Alabama for the Riley family’s benefit