First Gubernatorial Debate: Follow Up to Ethics Question I

John Anderson, political editor of the Huntsville Times:

Governor, a follow up on my original question, if I could set the record straight the way I understand it. My understanding was that the Justice Department told Lura Gault Canary that there was no conflict of interest and that she was free to continue as U.S. attorney in Montgomery to pursue that case, but that she then voluntarily declined to do that because her husband is involved in Republican politics. Is that not the case?

Governor Siegelman:

John, with all due respect, that's not the way I read it. The prosecutor's husband is a fundraiser for this man right here. Raised money for him. They are involve in the same trucking association. There was a clear financial and political and personal financial conflict of interest between the prosecutor and her attorney and Mr. Riley. Whether she was forced to step down or whether the Justice Department just quietly told her you better step down before we take you off the case, she was going to step down off the case.

John Anderson: How do you know that?

Governor Siegelman:

Because there could not have been a more clear conflict of interest. You can't have your husband, you can't sit as a prosecutor and have your husband work for somebody's political opponent and then be investigating me. That is a clear conflict of interest.

Congressman Riley:

John, you're absolutely right. Your question is to the point and it is absolutely correct. There was no conflict. There never has been.

I have never met the lady in my life. The Governor can keep talking about this right ring, Republican conspiracy. That sounds very similar to things we've hear in the past. That has nothing to do with it. It has everything to do with credibility. Whether or not Mrs. Canary should have stepped down or not, that is for the Justice Department to decide. But you are right on point.

Back to what the Governor said a moment ago. Governor the only thing that I ask you to do is if you quote my record, quote it accurately. Do you realize, if we had gone to a national sales tax that the first $35-40,000 would pay no sales tax. So don't stand there and say that Bob Riley wants to put the sales tax on the people who can least afford it. We made provision for that and we can have debate for a long time about that.