News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Don Siegelman sentencing is a tragedy, atrocity

To The Daily: On June 28, a tragedy occurred in Montgomery. Former Gov. Don Siegelman was sentenced to more than seven years in prison.

This was a tragedy for many reasons, not the least of which being a good, innocent man has been taken away from his family and friends for accepting a campaign contribution from which he did not benefit one cent.

However, perhaps the greatest tragedy of all is that this sentence has taken one of the last great statesmen in Alabama away from the people he has lived his life serving.

I know Gov. Siegelman personally. In fact, I imagine many readers saw me hugging him in their newspapers during the sentencing hearing, and I can honestly tell you that Don Siegelman is my hero. I firmly believe Gov. Siegelman has never done anything in politics to benefit himself, but has done everything with the sole vision of improving the state of Alabama.

If giving Scooter Libby 21/2 years in prison for leaking the name of an undercover CIA operative was too harsh of a sentence, then what classification does giving an innocent man seven years fall under? I call that an atrocity.

Joe Webb

Many presidents have utilized executive privilege

To The Daily: This is in response to your editorial titled “Presidential secrecy harmful to nation.”

The editorial once again shows the hypocrisy that we have come to expect from The Decatur Daily. The entire article twists the truth on both the firing of U.S. attorneys and the use of “executive privilege” by presidents throughout history.

First, the firing of the eight U.S. attorneys was completely legal and ethical regardless of the reasoning behind the actual act. U.S. attorneys serve “at the privilege of” the president of the United States, period. Presidents can remove attorneys as they choose and are not required to give reasons to support their decision. Regardless of the implications, there was nothing illegal about the dismissals. Let us not forget that President Clinton fired all 93 U.S. attorneys when he took office without giving any reasoning behind any of them.

The next issue I have with this editorial is the attempt to make the reader believe that “executive privilege” is something that is rarely used. The fact that within the first paragraph the writer explains that this is “best known to the public as a Nixon Watergate strategy” is laughable and once again shows the bias against any Republican administration. Nowhere in the article is it mentioned that Bill Clinton invoked his “executive privilege” at least six times in his tenure as president. In fact, in my quick research I found that George Washington, Andrew Jackson, William Howard Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower all used some form of “executive privilege” during their service as president and I am sure this does not scratch the surface.

Next time, at least try to hide your political bias.

Patrick Banks

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