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Friday, May 28, 2010

The White House Spin On Sestak Job Offer To Be Released 'Shortly'- UPDATE: Judicial Watch Releases Statement

[Update on Judicial Watch statement at the bottom of original post]

Via Hot Air, we see video of Barack Obama promising that his administration will off an official explanation, regarding Joe Sestak's allegation that the Obama administration offered his a federal job if he would drop out of the Senate race against Arlen Specter.

The Plum Line has reported that it was Bill Clinton that acted on behalf of the White House and was asked to speak to Sestak but only "informally".

Senior White House advisers asked former President Bill Clinton to talk to Joe Sestak about whether he was serious about running for Senate, and to feel out whether he'd be open to other alternatives, according to sources familiar with the situation.

But the White House maintains that the Clinton-Sestak discussions were informal, according to the sources. The White House, under pressure to divulge the specifics of its interactions with Sestak, will release a formal statement later today outlining their version of events, including Clinton's involvement.

According to the sources, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel asked Clinton and his longtime adviser, lawyer Doug Band, to talk to Sestak about the race. It's unclear right now whether the White House will say that Clinton was asked to suggest specific administration positions for Sestak, whether Clinton floated positions on his own, whether Clinton discussed other options not related to the adminstration, or whether employment even came up at all in the talks.

But the news that Clinton is at the center of this whole story is noteworthy on its own because of the former president's stature, and underscores how heavily invested the White House was in dissuading Sestak from running. The White House sent Clinton to talk to Sestak because Arlen Specter, constituting the 60th Dem vote in the Senate, was viewed as key to enacting Obama's agenda.

There have already been requests to Eric Holder to assigned a special prosecutor to investigate the matter, although it is doubtful he will do so.

Red State has more on that request, via the letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder:

Senate Republicans are concerned enough that they have sent a letter dated May 26, 2010 to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting “the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate” this matter. The letter is signed by all Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee including Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT). The letter alleges a possible violation of various criminal laws including but not limited to “18 U.S.C. Sec. 600 (promise of employment or other benefit for political activity).”

Hot Air, linked above, also points out that this is not the first time this particular type of allegation has been made against the Obama administration and while it was denied at the time and the story basically just faded, now, with Sestak making the same type of allegation even maintaining his story after beating Specter in the Democratic primary, it will be interesting to see if anyone else crawls out from under a rock to add to these two incidents.

[Update] Judicial Watch issues a statement on the Sestak job bribe:

Contact Information:
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC -- May 27, 2010

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued the following statement today regarding the federal position allegedly offered by the Obama White House to Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA). Rep. Sestak has claimed repeatedly that the Obama White House tried to persuade him to abandon his Democratic primary challenge to Senator Arlen Specter by offering a high-level position in the Obama administration.

Rep. Sestak’s allegations are extremely serious and yet we’ve heard nothing from the Obama White House so far but vague denials of wrongdoing and outright stonewalling.

It’s time for everyone involved in this scandal to come clean. There is simply no wiggle room. Either Sestak lied about the federal job offer or someone at the White House likely committed a felony. It’s that simple.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s refusal to appoint a special counsel in the matter is a disgrace and will not stand.

This latest bribery allegation reflects a disturbing pattern by the Obama White House. We still don’t have all the details about involvement of Obama administration officials in the sale of Obama’s former Illinois U.S. Senate seat by Rod Blagojevich. And we still don’t have answers about the charge that Obama Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina offered a federal job to Colorado Democratic Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff to keep him out of the Senate race. There is also the report that President Obama tried to push disgruntled White House Counsel Greg Craig out of the White House by offering a federal judgeship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. And now we have Joe Sestak.

The Chicago Machine has truly come to Washington.

Truth fears no inquiry. If the Obama White House has nothing to hide then it will ask for and fully cooperate with thorough Justice Department and congressional investigations of this scandal.

According to Judicial Watch, the following laws (among others) may have been violated in the Sestak matter: 18 USC 210: Offer to procure appointive public office; 18 USC 211: Acceptance of solicitation to obtain appointive public office; 18 USC 595: Interference by administrative employees by Federal, State or Territorial Governments; and 18 USC 600: Promise of employment or other benefit for political activity.


The Hill with "Issa: Sestak scandal could be Obama's 'Watergate'"