Monday, May 24, 2010

Is Senate Cand. Sestak (D-PA) Lying About Bribe or Did WH Break the Law?

If Sestak is lying he should be disqualified for the Senate. If someone at the White House offered him a bribe to stay out of Senate race, they broke the law.

That's really the only two ways to look at this story. The White House made it clear they did not want Joe Sestak to run in the primary against Senator Arlen Specter. Sestak has repeatedly claimed that he was offered a high level job if he were to drop out of the race which he won in last week's Pennsylvania primary.

Sestak was asked about the controversy this past Sunday on Meet the Press and reaffirmed that an offer was made:

Sestak refuses to say what the job was or who at the White House offered it to him. Earlier this year, Robert Gibbs, White House press spokesman, repeatedly tried to stonewall the matter hoping reporters would drop it. Finally this Monday David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist said that the matter had been looked into and that "nothing inappropriate happened." He refused to give any details and quickly changed the subject.

Something smells fishy here doesn't it? Either Sestak was offered a job, in which case it could be a violation of federal law or he wasn't offered a job and is lying about it. If "nothing inappropriate happened" why won't the White House come forward and describe the contacts staffers had with Sestak to get him out of the race with Specter? And if any serious cabinet level job offer was considered it would have to have been made with the full knowledge and assent of the President.

Readers may recall the absolute frenzy and firestorm that broke out during the Bush Administration when it was falsely claimed that Karl Rove or other senior White House staff might have outted CIA agent Valerie Plame. No one was ever charged with violating the law against disclosing covert CIA agents, not even Richard Armitage at the State Dept. who actually leaked her name. There was no charge for violating that law because Ms. Plame did not meet the standards in the law defining a covert CIA agent. But that didn't stop the Special Prosecutor from going forward with a full investigation of top White House officials.

There is ample law covering this subject:

Title 18, U.S.C. Section 211 says, “Whoever solicits or receives, either as a political contribution or for personal emolument, any money or thing of value, in consideration of the promise of support or use of influence in obtaining for any person any appointive office or place under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year or both.”

Title 18, U.S.C. Section 595, which says, “Whoever, being a person employed in any administrative position by the United States … uses his official authority for the purposes of interfering with, or affecting the nomination of, or the election of any candidate for office of President, Vice President, Presidential elector, Member of the Senate, Member of the House of Representative…shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”

Title 18 U.S.C. Section 600, which says, “Whoever directly or indirectly promises any employment position, compensation, contract, appointment, or other benefit provided for or made possible in whole or in part by any Act of Congress, or any special consideration in obtaining any such benefit, to any person as consideration, in favor, or reward for any political activity or for the support of or opposition to any candidate or any political party in connection with any general or special election to any political office … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”
Readers will also recall how former Obama buddy and former Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevitch was indicted on multiple counts of corruption, including the attempt to sell the Senate seat vacated by Obama after he was elected President.

U.S. District Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who was the Special Prosecutor in the Valerie Plame case is also the lead attorney prosecuting Blagojevitch. He might the ideal man to serve as Special Prosecutor investigating whether laws were broken in the Sestak affair.

One wonders how long a President that championed transparency and openness during the presidential election can continue to stonewall and evade a full and complete accounting of White House activity with Sestak. Clearly someone here is lying.

Ultimately, the question is: what did Obama know and when did he know it?

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