By Carole on May 26, 2010
Appearing on a televised news program in mid-February, US Representative Joe Sestak (D-Pennsylvania) was asked if the Obama administration offered him a high-ranking federal job in exchange for dropping his primary challenge to Senator Arlen Specter. Representative Sestak said yes. Three months and a primary win later; he is still saying it happened but is refusing to provide details of the crime and, if it happened, it most certainly was a crime.
Often laws, especially federal laws, are long and difficult for an ordinary citizen to understand. But the one allegedly broken by someone in the Obama administration with regard to Mr. Sestak (Title 18 US Code Section 600) is simple and straight forward:
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, 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, or in connection with any primary election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates for any political office, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both. (source)
The employment allegedly promised in the Sestak case is the job of Secretary of the Navy which would have required Senate confirmation (an act of Congress). And, as a "primary election" is specifically listed in the statute, there is no doubt that whoever directly or indirectly made that offer to Mr. Sestak violated the law.
Of course it is possible that Mr. Sestak is lying and no offer was ever made. But if that were the case, one would expect the Obama administration to be justifiably shouting their innocence; even demanding that Mr. Sestak resign from his Senate campaign in favor of some other Democrat (perhaps their primary candidate of choice - Senator Specter). But the administration is not proclaiming innocence. What they are claiming is that there is "no evidence" that anyone in the administration violated the law and that nothing said was "inappropriate".
Appearing on CNN this week, Senior White House Advisor David Axelrod stated, "When the allegations were made, they were looked into. And there was no evidence of such a thing." In the same interview, he did acknowledge that if a job was offered to stop the primary challenge to Senator Specter it would "constitute a serious breach of the law" and that there were "conversations" involving White House officials (he would not say who) and Mr. Sestak. But he said those conversations had been "looked at" by White House lawyers and "their conclusion was that it was perfect - the conversations were perfectly appropriate." (source) Appropriate for what? The political goals of the administration?
Appearing on CBS on Sunday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs refused to confirm whether or not an offer was made saying only that "nothing inappropriate" happened. (source) Again, commenting on whether or not what happened was appropriate not whether or not it was legal. A coincidental word choice or the official administration spin on the issue?
In the latest sign that the mainstream media may be abandoning its knee jerk defense of all things Obama, the editors of the Washington Post wrote the following in a recent editorial on the issue:
The White House position that everyone should just trust it and go away is unacceptable from any administration; it is especially hypocritical coming from this one. "I'm not going to get further into what the conversations were," Mr. Gibbs said Sunday. "People that have looked into them assure me that they weren't inappropriate in any way." This response would hardly have satisfied those who were upset during the previous administration about the firing of US attorneys. If there was nothing improper, why not all that sunlight Mr. Obama promised? (source)
Why not, indeed. Both the Obama administration and Representative Sestak need to be more forthcoming about this incident so that the American people can decide whether or not it was appropriate and the American justice system can determine whether or not it was legal.
|« The Blumenthal Effect||The Real Obama Temperament Exposed »|