06.01.2010 0

Damning Admissions by White House on Sestak Job Offer

By Robert Romano

Apparently, Barack Obama learned nothing from Rod Blagojevich’s attempted sale of his own Illinois Senate seat. Perhaps this is just the Chicago way.

First, there was no offer at all, according to the Obama Administration, which denied that Joe Sestak’s charge that he had been offered a “high-ranking” presidential appointment in exchange for withdrawing from the Pennsylvania Senate race. Then, there were some conversations that had taken place, but they weren’t “problematic.” Now, an offer for an appointment was made, but it wasn’t high-ranking, it was only an “uncompensated” position on a Presidential advisory board.

And it was “fully consistent with the relevant law”.

Right.

There are, of course, many problems with the White House’s story. For example, unpaid roles on commissions, advisory boards, or the like in the Administration are not “high-ranking”. When asked by journalist Larry Kane the job offered was “high-ranking,” Sestak said yes. That indicates a senior position, such as Secretary, Assistant Secretary, or a Czarship or the like.

There are other problems with the cover story. Does anyone really believe that Congressman Sestak doesn’t know that an advisory panel is not “high-ranking”? Why would somebody give up being a Senator for six years in exchange for a seat on some advisory board? That seems like a rather poor deal to be offered.

Moreover, does anyone believe that the White House would make such a poor offer?

Finally, and most importantly, even if all Sestak was offered was an advisory panel — which is to be doubted based on Sestak’s statement confirming that it was a “high-ranking” job offered — it still violates the law.

According to 18 U.S.C. § 600, entitled “Promise of employment or other benefit for political activity”:

“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.”

A full year in prison and/or fined for selling a presidential appointment, whether directly or indirectly. Both former President Bill Clinton and top Obama advisor Rahm Emmanuel have already been implicated in this clear violation of law. But the authority had to come from somewhere. Only one person has the power to make a Presidential appointment, and that’s Barack Obama.

And whether a paid or unpaid post, the relevant statute is crystal clear, and much broader — it extends to any appointment or position, or any benefit at all.

The Legal Counsel has admitted that the White House engaged in “discussions of alternatives to the Senate campaign” and at least promised an appointment in exchange for Sestak pulling out of the race.

That is a damning admission by the White House. They’re opening statement on this matter has been to overtly admit to violating the law.

The White House even illuminates as to what the rationale for offering Sestak the appointment was: “The Democratic Party leadership had a legitimate interest in averting a divisive primary fight and a similarly legitimate concern about the Congressman vacating his seat in the House.” Obama may have had a perfectly political rationale for offering this job, but that does not change the clear language of the law.

Offering Joe Sestak anything of value, including an appointment, as a “reward for any political activity,” in this case to pull out of the Pennsylvania Senate, is against the law. It’s a bribe. Barack Obama is supposed to be enforcing the law, not making bribes.

This story is not going away. Eric Holder should appoint a special prosecutor, even if it is to look into his own boss. And the House of Representatives should be immediately launch investigations, including an ethics inquiry into Sestak, and subpoena every person thus far implicated in this case: Rahm Emmanuel, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of ALG News Bureau.

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