The Silence of the Sestak: The Big Me involved?; Update: WH memo released; Update: Sestak corroborates

posted at 11:36 am on May 28, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

With the political world holding its breath for the Friday-afternoon document dump containing the Obama White House response to the Joe Sestak scandal, Greg Sargent gets a sneak peek at the possible defense.  The Obama administration will say that it asked Bill Clinton to conduct “informal” talks with Sestak to determine his political ambitions, which Sestak then mischaracterized afterward:

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 [sic], 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.

Having someone outside of the administration as a buffer would be very convenient for Obama at this juncture.  It allows Obama to offload the blame to someone other than a staffer.  And like all buffers, it provides the President with plausible deniability for any legal problems that might ensue.

That doesn’t mean that it’s also not true.  After all, the idea of plausible deniability has a long, if inglorious, history in American politics.  The film The Godfather, Part II has one character, Joe Cicci, laughing while he tells a Congressional committee that the Corleone family had “lots of buffers.”  Buffers exist because they’re practical and they work, especially in politics.  Even if no criminal intent existed, a buffer for this kind of mission would be essential.  It would be hard to imagine either Barack Obama or Rahm Emanuel tasking themselves with the job of pushing Sestak out of the Pennsylvania primary.

Assuming that Sargent’s sources are correct, we can pretty much predict what the document dump will say.  “We asked President Clinton to see what Rep. Sestak’s intentions were, and how we could help” would cover all the bases — and leave Bill Clinton holding the bag if anything untoward happened.  That, however, seems highly unlikely for a man so slippery that he could parse the meaning of the word “is” under oath.  An accidental crossing of the line would be much more likely with an inexperienced staffer than with Clinton, who would have been on his guard.  This makes it much more likely that Sestak blew it out of proportion in order to score a few political points against Arlen Specter and Obama.

Here’s a question, though.  Who was the buffer in Colorado?

Update: The New York Times has the same leak, but even more information about the job offer, emphasis mine:

Mr. Obama promised on Thursday to release an account of the matter, which White House lawyers have been drafting in recent days in consultation with Mr. Sestak’s brother, Richard, who runs his campaign. The White House plans to release its statement later on Friday. Until now, the White House has said publicly only that whatever conversations took place with Mr. Sestak were not inappropriate.

The office of Robert F. Bauer, the White House counsel, has concluded that Mr. Emanuel’s proposal did not violate laws prohibiting government employees from promising employment as a reward for political activity because the position being offered was unpaid. The office also found other examples of presidents offering positions to political allies to achieve political aims.

That may get around the letter of the law, but certainly not the spirit, and it clears up another point that had puzzled me.  Obama yesterday claimed that the repor would exonerate him; if so, why hold it until Friday afternoon?  That would limit the media coverage of the exoneration.  The answer appears to be that the report may exonerate Obama and his staff from violations of the law — but that it clearly shows Obama attempting to manipulate an election in Pennsylvania for his own political purposes.  That may be legal, but it’s certainly not indicative of the “most transparent/ethical administration ever,” as Obama promised to provide.

Update II: What kind of unpaid position would be attractive enough to get Sestak out of the Senate primary?  That’s a darned good question, and I’ll bet the Obama White House is scrambling to make up find an answer.  If Sestak challenges this spin, though, I’d be very surprised.  I think he’s looking for an exit from this scandal at least as hard as Obama and his staff.

Update III: Marc Ambinder has the White House memo.  Shouldn’t this have been released at 5 pm or so?  And the memo itself seems to be evidence of potential wrongdoing, rather than an exoneration:

Uncompensated Advisory Board Options. We found that, as the Congressman has publicly and accurately stated, options for Executive Branch service were raised with him.  Efforts were made in June and July of 2009 to determine whether Congressman Sestak would be interested in service on a Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board, which would avoid a divisive Senate primary, allow him to retain his seat in the House, and provide him with an opportunity for additional service to the public in a high-level advisory capacity for which he was highly qualified.  The advisory positions discussed with Congressman Sestak, while important to the work of the Administration, would have been uncompensated.

White House staff did not discuss these options with Congressman Sestak.  The White House Chief of Staff enlisted the support of former President Clinton who agreed to raise with Congressman Sestak options of service on a Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board.

Er, isn’t that at the least an admission of attempting to tamper with the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania?  If this didn’t violate the law, why did Rahm Emanuel ask Bill Clinton to make the pitch rather than do it himself?

I’m guessing this adds gasoline rather than water to the fire.

Update IV: Via the Boss Emeritus on Twitter, Sestak wastes no time in corroborating the White House account:

Last summer, I received a phone call from President Clinton. During the course of the conversation, he expressed concern over my prospects if I were to enter the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and the value of having me stay in the House of Representatives because of my military background. He said that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had spoken with him about my being on a Presidential Board while remaining in the House of Representatives. I said no. I told President Clinton that my only consideration in getting into the Senate race or not was whether it was the right thing to do for Pennsylvania working families and not any offer. The former President said he knew I’d say that, and the conversation moved on to other subjects.

There are many important challenges facing Pennsylvania and the rest of the country. I intend to remain focused on those issues and continue my fight on behalf of working families.

Excuse me, but a position on a Presidential Board is not a “job” in any sense of the word.  Sestak has repeatedly insisted that the White House offered him a job to get him to withdraw from the race.  Now we’re at the who’s-lying stage, and it may well be everyone.


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The White House plans to release its statement later on Friday

Ahhh the “notorious friday news dump before the holiday”. They for sure have something to hide.

jbh45 on May 28, 2010 at 12:58 PM

this means they really knew what they were doing.

tomas on May 28, 2010 at 12:59 PM

The way this gets even better is if around Tuesday of next week or so, Billy Jeff turns on Skippy when cracks develop in the ‘cover story’ – and BJ decides it’s time for a bit of payback for sequestering the world’s smartest woman out of 1600 then sticking her in Foggy Bottom limbo land. Then the Skipster and Rhambo and Dave will have an even bigger mess to deal with than just some oil in the Gulf.

This could get hilarious-er before it’s over.

Wind Rider on May 28, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Maybe I’m parsing words down to a fly’s turd, but Sestak said “I was OFFERED a JOB.” To me, job = money.

To me, that’s specific, A JOB. SecNav or something else.

Now for Barry’s “report” to fly, you have to buy:
1) Clinton talked to Sestak
2) Discussed OPTIONS

That’s the rub. Sestak did NOT say “I was offered a POSITION.” (non-specific)

And it brings us back to, Clinton. Yeah, I can buy that it gets the White House and everyone in it away from breaking the law. BUT it now drops any “problems” in Bubba’s lap.

The Clintons are trailer trash. They don’t do squat without there being something in it for them (they do have an affinity for MONEY).

So what’s Bubba got to gain, besides being in the lime-light that he loves so dearly?

Is Barry going to finally pay off that $2 MILLION Hillary! campaign bill?

The Clinton’s get out from under a debit. Bubba gets some face time with the cameras again. And he gets to baffle us with bullshit about what the meaning of “is” is.

But that still leaves Sestak being called a LIAR! Doesn’t Barry need all the votes in the Senate he can get? OR
Has Barry written off the Pennsylvania race as a Republican win this fall? If so, then calling Sestak a LIAR! has no political ramifications.

Might Barry also find some way to “assist” the Republican challenger to defeat Sestak?

ANYONE is expendable when it comes time to protect THE ONE. Just ask those people under the bus.

GarandFan on May 28, 2010 at 1:03 PM

I’m guessing this adds gasoline rather than water to the fire.

Pass the marshmallows, please.

Akzed on May 28, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Sestak Responds [Daniel Foster]

From a just released statement:

“Last summer, I received a phone call from President Clinton. During the course of the conversation, he expressed concern over my prospects if I were to enter the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and the value of having me stay in the House of Representatives because of my military background. He said that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had spoken with him about my being on a Presidential Board while remaining in the House of Representatives. I said no. I told President Clinton that my only consideration in getting into the Senate race or not was whether it was the right thing to do for Pennsylvania working families and not any offer. The former President said he knew I’d say that, and the conversation moved on to other subjects.

“There are many important challenges facing Pennsylvania and the rest of the country. I intend to remain focused on those issues and continue my fight on behalf of working families.”

NRO.

Sestak is going to be a team player on this.

Any prior inconsistencies? “I misspoke.” “You must have misheard/misunderstood me.”

Wethal on May 28, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Obama skirted the law, used Bill, who was a natural choice.

I think both sides are telling the truth.

AnninCA on May 28, 2010 at 12:44 PM

LOL

Del Dolemonte on May 28, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Sestak just released a atatement. He is going along with the story. Unbelievable.

just released statement:

“Last summer, I received a phone call from President Clinton. During the course of the conversation, he expressed concern over my prospects if I were to enter the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and the value of having me stay in the House of Representatives because of my military background. He said that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had spoken with him about my being on a Presidential Board while remaining in the House of Representatives. I said no. I told President Clinton that my only consideration in getting into the Senate race or not was whether it was the right thing to do for Pennsylvania working families and not any offer. The former President said he knew I’d say that, and the conversation moved on to other subjects.

“There are many important challenges facing Pennsylvania and the rest of the country. I intend to remain focused on those issues and continue my fight on behalf of working families.”

Posted at The Corner

rockmom on May 28, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Efforts were made in June and July of 2009 to determine whether Congressman Sestak would be interested in service on a Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board, which would avoid a divisive Senate primary, allow him to retain his seat in the House, and provide him with an opportunity for additional service to the public in a high-level advisory capacity for which he was highly qualified.

They admit that an effort would be made by the White House to end Sestak’s run for the Senate.

The White House Chief of Staff enlisted the support of former President Clinton who agreed to raise with Congressman Sestak options of service on a Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board.

They admit that Mr. Clinton was authorized by the White House to make the offer.

Case closed. They attempted to bribe Sestak and now everyone knows it. What’s going to be done about it is the question.

wordsmithy2009 on May 28, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Doesn’t pass the smell test Barak, your bottle of Febreze is empty.

meci on May 28, 2010 at 1:09 PM

This is SUCH BS! And why the hello would you call in a former President to offer this unpaid position?

BS BS BS BS

I hope the media doesn’t just let this go away.

sarainitaly on May 28, 2010 at 1:09 PM

I have to agree. If I had to vote between Biden and Obama, I’d have to go with Joe.

MassVictim on May 28, 2010 at 12:49 PM

And if I had to choose between lung cancer and muscular dystrophy I’d have to go with muscular dystrophy.

Sometimes there is no upside.

fogw on May 28, 2010 at 1:10 PM

It was Willie Cicci that laughed about the Family having a lot of buffers. One day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. Until that day consider this a gift.

Knuterockne on May 28, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Critics say the Sestak job offer may have violated the part of the U.S. code that says: “Whoever, directly or indirectly, promises any employment, position, compensation…appointment…provided for or made possible in whole or in part by any Act of Congress…to any person as consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity…or in connection with any primary election …shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/05/28/white-house-asked-clinton-urge-sestak-drop-senate-race/

It also doesn’t explain the job offer to Andrew Romanoff.

sarainitaly on May 28, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Sestak just released a atatement. He is going along with the story. Unbelievable.

rockmom on May 28, 2010 at 1:08 PM

So if everything was above board, why didn’t Sestak provide this statement back in February when the story broke?

Still smellin me some blowfish.

fogw on May 28, 2010 at 1:14 PM

sarainitaly on May 28, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Zounds! That gun is smokin’!

MassVictim on May 28, 2010 at 1:15 PM

I don’t see in the memo where they say Clinton was the only surrogate to discuss “options” with Sestak.

Maybe somebody should ask about that and also find out exactly when these conversations occurred.

forest on May 28, 2010 at 1:15 PM

This only gets more and more interesting. There’s lots more to this and I hope that the one or two real journalists in the DC press corps keep bird-dogging it.(Just imagine if all those Obama-fanboy time-servers in the WH press pool actually did their jobs. That would be awesome.) This is Obama’s Watergate.

WarEagle01 on May 28, 2010 at 1:16 PM

right thing to do for Pennsylvania working families

I get just plain tired of hearing this stock statement from pols. In fact, they don’t give a rat’s behind about working class families…or anything except themselves and their re-elections.

jeanie on May 28, 2010 at 1:16 PM

If Hillary wants to be President, all Bill has to say is; “What the hell are you talking about? Obama had Rahm offered the Job of Sec of the Navy to Sestak. Why are they dragging me into this thing?”

Obama impeached, Rahm and Sestak convicted. Biden becomes President, pardons all and Hillary defeats Biden in 2012.

barnone on May 28, 2010 at 1:19 PM

So if everything was above board, why didn’t Sestak provide this statement back in February when the story broke?

Still smellin me some blowfish.

fogw on May 28, 2010 at 1:14 PM

I can believe he wanted to keep Bill Clinton’s name out of it. And I’m sure he had conversations with Clinton about his Senate run, because Clinton is his political mentor. A lot of Sestak’s $3 million war chest that he took into this race came from Clinton cronies, and he probably wanted to ask Clinton to make sure those donors wouldn’t mind him using the money to run for Senate instead of reelection to the House.

But I am not buying that all he was offered was a BS advisory panel appointment. But Sestak and Clinton are the only ones who cn tell the truth, and if they have synced their stories and both decided to lie, there isn’t much we can do about it.

rockmom on May 28, 2010 at 1:19 PM

Bet they cooked this up during the “private lunch” yesterday:

But before the presser, Obama will have lunch with someone who knows something about damage control.

tru2tx on May 28, 2010 at 1:20 PM

working families

I get just plain tired of hearing this stock statement from pols. In fact, they don’t give a rat’s behind about working class families…or anything except themselves and their re-elections.

jeanie on May 28, 2010 at 1:16 PM

There’s a reason for this language. A poll in Harper’s many years ago indicated

10% of the population view themselves as “poor” (even though the real number is higher)

0.1% of the population view themselves as “rich” (even though the real number is higher)

So 89.9% of Americans view themselves as “middle class” or “working families.” No other single demographic is as large, so politicians use it all the time.

MassVictim on May 28, 2010 at 1:21 PM

The only thing the GOP can really do now is to work hard for Toomey so Sestak is out of a job in January. He gave up his House seat (which should be a fairly easy GOP pickup by a former country prosecutor/US Attorney), to run for this.

The Dems would no doubt find Sestak a job at Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, though.

Wethal on May 28, 2010 at 1:22 PM

This crap will do nothing but demand more investigation.

d1carter on May 28, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Now we’re at the who’s-lying stage, and it may well be everyone.

Probably it’s everyone. Otherwise the story just doesn’t add up.

petefrt on May 28, 2010 at 1:26 PM

The Sestak Smell Test [Daniel Foster]

A tip of the cap to White House counsel on preparing a memo that, on its face, would appear to let a bit of air out of charges of wrongdoing. But some of it just isn’t scanning.

Let’s look back at what Rep. Sestak told local TV host Larry Kane in February.

KANE: “Were you ever offered a federal job to get out of this race?”

SESTAK: “Yes.”

KANE: “Was it secretary of the Navy?”

SESTAK: “No comment”

Later Kane asks again, “Was there a job offered to you by the White House?” to which Sestak nods and replies “yes, someone offered it.”

Kane asks “It was big right?” Sestak replies, “Let me ‘no comment’ on it.”

“Was it high-ranking?” Kane asked. Sestak said yes.

That was February. Since then, Sestak has mostly ‘no commented.’ But as recently as last Sunday, he confirmed: “I was offered a job, and I answered that.”

Contrast that with the White House memo, which says that Sestak was considered only for non-compensated “advisory positions” and that he had no direct contact with White House officials.

NRO.

Wethal on May 28, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Transparently, insultingly false.

Mason on May 28, 2010 at 1:29 PM

So if this explanation passes the smell test with the press will this administration think they have dodged a bullet and behave. Or will they do bigger and more stupid things because they think they can get away with anything.

Cindy Munford on May 28, 2010 at 1:29 PM

I can believe he wanted to keep Bill Clinton’s name out of it. And I’m sure he had conversations with Clinton about his Senate run, because Clinton is his political mentor.

rockmom on May 28, 2010 at 1:19 PM

Sorry, I disagree. The secrecy is a tell. If Bill was his friend and mentor, why hesitate to mention his name – unless he thought he could do harm to him. And the only way it would do harm to him was if Clinton’s actions were illegal. And his friend Bill probably got that point across to him.

wink wink

fogw on May 28, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Imagine being indebted to Bill Clinton. What could go wrong?

Cindy Munford on May 28, 2010 at 1:30 PM

They lie! Sestak is a scumbag. Sorry but this does not pass the smell test on any level.

FireBlogger on May 28, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Imagine being indebted to Bill Clinton. What could go wrong?

Cindy Munford on May 28, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Cindy Munford: NightMarish me thinks,haha!!:)

canopfor on May 28, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Boom goes the dynamite… http://bit.ly/bZ9ZSW

ninjapirate on May 28, 2010 at 1:34 PM

canopfor on May 28, 2010 at 1:32 PM

I just worry about how much it will cost the taxpayer. This administration is like the continuing saga of “As the Stomach Turns”, and it’s usually mine.

Cindy Munford on May 28, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Excuse me, but a position on a Presidential Board is not a “job” in any sense of the word. Sestak has repeatedly insisted that the White House offered him a job to get him to withdraw from the race. Now we’re at the who’s-lying stage, and it may well be everyone.

By that paragraph alone, it exposes this, as a HUGE cover up, and corruption. At no time, til today, did Sestak mention Clinton in any of this. He specifically said…the White House offered this job. Now…where in this narrative, other than being a former President, does BILL Clinton have to do….with the White House? I’d bet dollars to donuts, Obama doesn’t even like his name mentioned, unless he’s trashing the man.

This is gonna get a lot dirtier, before it gets cleaned up. If it ever does get cleaned up.

capejasmine on May 28, 2010 at 1:36 PM

Sestak read the script well; “No Jive Left Behind”.

The Smell Test Administration is flunking.

Noel on May 28, 2010 at 1:36 PM

This doesn’t even pass the laugh test, let alone the sniff test.

(1) It doesn’t make sense. Sestak wouldn’t call an unpaid position on an honorary advisory board a “job”; nobody would.

(2) It’s too stupid. No congressman would drop out of a Senate race for an honorary board position. Senator’s a much better job.

(3) It’s still illegal. The statute doesn’t say “money” or “compensation”; it says “thing of value.” The position must have been considered a thing of value; otherwise the offer, even if true, would make no sense from either side. “Joe, we want you to drop out of the Senate race… for nothing. Nada. Zip. What do you say?”
(4) They took too long to cook it up, and obviously (indeed, publicly) coordinated their stories. Sestak gains nothing by damaging Obama, but he can’t back down and say that he himself was a liar. The WH can’t give up one of its own as a felon (besides, that would inhibit their further use of that aspect of The Chicago Way), but if they publicly accuse Sestak of being the liar, they WOULD lose the Pennsylvania Senate seat.

Zumkopf on May 28, 2010 at 1:37 PM

Zumkopf on May 28, 2010 at 1:37 PM

All it takes is a media and a majority in Congress to say that it is true.

Cindy Munford on May 28, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Ed:

From your earlier post, here is the statute (I will assume it was quoted correctly):

Sec. 600. 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.

Let’s be frank. Any direct or indirect (e.g through Clinton) “promise” of any “position,” “appointment,” or other “benefit” provides a pretty broad basis for finding a violation that would certain appear to encompass the facts that have been reported so far. The next question is whether the position offered to Sestak in one that is “in whole or in part by any Act of Congress.” I don’t know from where the authority for Presidential advisory boards and commissions derives, but I suspect there is an act of congress involved somewhere if only to fund the expenses (even if the positions aren’t paid, you can bet there will always be expenses of holding meetings, travel, food etc.). There’s certainly smoke and maybe even a little fire in what’s been released already. More than enough to justify a real investigation.

secarr on May 28, 2010 at 1:43 PM

canopfor on May 28, 2010 at 1:32 PM
=================================
I just worry about how much it will cost the taxpayer. This administration is like the continuing saga of “As the Stomach Turns”, and it’s usually mine.

Cindy Munford on May 28, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Cindy Munford:Yes,I agree,and this reeks of the Clinton
years,and remember also Begavich has yet to
go to trail on accusations of selling Obamas
seat.Take comfort knowing,this will come back
on Obama!————-:)

canopfor on May 28, 2010 at 1:44 PM

Oops, should be “made possible in whole or in part”

secarr on May 28, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Ok, there should be a suicide watch placed in Fort Marcy park.

Caper29 on May 28, 2010 at 1:46 PM

Paraphrasing Humorist Will Rogers……..

a Politician never met a LIE he didn’t like.

PappyD61 on May 28, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Last summer, I received a phone call from President Clinton. During the course of the conversation, he expressed concern over my prospects if I were to enter the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and the value of having me stay in the House of Representatives because of my military background. He said that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had spoken with him about my being on a Presidential Board while remaining in the House of Representatives. I said no. I told President Clinton that my only consideration in getting into the Senate race or not was whether it was the right thing to do for Pennsylvania working families and not any offer. The former President said he knew I’d say that, and the conversation moved on to other subjects.
There are many important challenges facing Pennsylvania and the rest of the country. I intend to remain focused on those issues and continue my fight on behalf of working families.

BRING THEM ALL DOWN!!!!!

PappyD61 on May 28, 2010 at 1:49 PM

Sec. 600. 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.
….
secarr on May 28, 2010 at 1:43 PM

Is there any question?

barnone on May 28, 2010 at 1:49 PM

Sestak is a dope for going along with this cover-up. If he had stuck to his story and even revealed the job that was discussed (IMO, Secretary of the Navy), he would have looked like an independent politician who can’t be bought. By confirming a laughably implausible story, he shows he’s happy to be another cog in the corrupt Obama/Chicago machine. Hellooooo, Senator Toomey.

doppelganglander on May 28, 2010 at 1:50 PM

The exchange was Hillery replacing Biden in 2012, increasing her chances in 2016.

AaronGuzman on May 28, 2010 at 11:52 AM

Jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick – that could work! I’m scared.

shibumiglass on May 28, 2010 at 1:50 PM

A former US Attorney General was just on Kelly – on Fox.

He says the Sec 600, only applies “to a position created by an Act of Congress” (can anyone check that?) therefore no crime could have been done.

Ummm, aren’t all three branches of the government created by an Act of Congress???

And isn’t the intent of Sec 600 to prevent politically motivated and gained postions to sway a political race?

Full steam ahead.

Odie1941 on May 28, 2010 at 1:55 PM

He said that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had spoken with him about my being on a Presidential Board while remaining in the House of Representatives.

That is nothing like, “The WH offered me a job to drop out of the race.” Nothing. I guess incompetence trumps crooked.

Akzed on May 28, 2010 at 1:56 PM

Channeling “Scary” Larry O’donnel: CREEPY LIAR!!

BigWyo on May 28, 2010 at 1:57 PM

Now…where in this narrative, other than being a former President, does BILL Clinton have to do….with the White House?

He is married to the Secretary of State.

Still, this story seems VERY lame. Why would someone in the White House send someone with the stature of a former POTUS to offer Sestak an unpaid advisory position, in return for being a Rep. instead of running for the Senate? If Sestak really wanted to be a Senator, could he really be dissuaded by an unpaid advisory position?

Besides, back in February, when he was trailing Specter in the polls, Sestak said that “the White House” had offered him a “job” in return for his dropping out of the primary. If the story about Bill Clinton were true, Sestak could have mentioned Bill Clinton by name back then, since Clinton holds no elective office and would have nothing to lose, and is not NOW part of the White House. If the “job” was only an unpaid advisory position, Sestak also could have said that, without damaging either Obama or himself, and everyone would have realized that Sestak would have been crazy to sacrifice the chance to be Senator for six years for an unpaid advisory position.

Methinks this is an attempt to defuse the situation, to make it go away, now that Sestak has won the Dem nomination, but there’s probably something much bigger that Sestak isn’t mentioning. Back in February, Sestak virtually accused “the White House” of trying to buy him off his Senate run, out of frustration with Obama’s endorsement of Specter. The question becomes, was Sestak lying back in February to give himself traction against Specter, or was he telling the truth then and he’s now backing off because he doesn’t want to damage Obama?

Steve Z on May 28, 2010 at 1:58 PM

Wow, I gotta say I’m kinda shocked by how transparently this reeks of corruption and cover-up. Well, they’ve probably covered their asses legally, but this is so clearly a patched-together alibi that I think it will do real damage to Barry. When this laughable story gets a thorough cleansing, he’s gonna look like Richard Nixon with bigger ears (is that even possible?!). And Sestak’s GOP opponent is going to make his “participation in the cover-up with Presidents Clinton and Obama” the center-piece of the campaign. AND, when Shrillery challenges Barry in 2012, Bubba is gonna pull this little diddy out for all the world to see. When you lie down with dogs and all of that. Barry and Sestak should know better.

Rational Thought on May 28, 2010 at 1:59 PM

Well, it looks to me instead of stopping the digging they are speeding it up.
Yesterday, Sestak was going to issue a statement once the WH did and the assumption was he was sticking to his story. Today he is hook line sinker behind Obama/Clinton.
I can not believe how sleazy, dishonest and criminal this looks and these sleazeballs will get away with it.
What are they going to do with the guy in CO? Did Clinton mentor him too?

ORconservative on May 28, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Well the Felony Count is Rising.

By my count we’re looking at bribery, interfering with elections, witness tampering, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice.

Did I miss any?

Can we finally throw the impeached, disbarred rapist in jail?

Put him in a cell right next to BHO, Axlerod and Blago.

MaaddMaaxx on May 28, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Dick Morris said that Judge Napolitano had a good idea: Republican Attorney General Corbett in PA could investigate this since Sestak holds a PA seat.

Akzed on May 28, 2010 at 2:00 PM

I told President Clinton that my only consideration in getting into the Senate race or not was whether it was the right thing to do for Pennsylvania working families and not any offer. The former President said he knew I’d say that, and the conversation moved on to other subjects.

That fact that probably 60% of Pennsylvanians will lap this up, just reinforces my belief that the US is headed for 3rd world status.

MNHawk on May 28, 2010 at 2:00 PM

The advisory positions discussed with Congressman Sestak, while important to the work of the Administration, would have been uncompensated.

Smokescreen. Compensation has nothing to do with it. The position is compensation for the act of political gain.

An analog: a person should not be found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder if they don’t actually pay the hitman.

Right. Does anyone remember the old Heinz ketchup commercials, where a blob of ketchup was poured onto a plate, and then the plate was tilted up. The announcer then says “See, our ketchup is better, because it’s thicker and doesn’t run”.

Hmmmm….the trick used here is one that convinces you that the thicker a ketchup is, the better it is. For me, it’s how it tastes. But if you are easily persuaded, you’ll believe that thin ketchup is inherently bad.

In the Sestakgate case, the WH “announcer” says nothing illegal was done because we weren’t going to pay him a salary.

BobMbx on May 28, 2010 at 2:04 PM

If this advisory position was what Sestak was talking about as a “high ranking job,” then somewhere Dick Blumenthal is blushing over such a brazen implication.

JohnTant on May 28, 2010 at 2:05 PM

This is the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard.

It smells. Bad.

therightwinger on May 28, 2010 at 2:05 PM

Unless Clinton counts as “the administration”, which I believe were Sestak’s words this smells like a cover up.

clnurnberg on May 28, 2010 at 2:08 PM

It does appear that all the involved parties have a mutual desired outcome and have conspired over the last few days to join ranks to achieve it. As said it is now down to who is lying, or is it?

The Obama administation appears to be relying on the part of the law that relates to someone taking an offer in exchange for compensation, or as the heading states, to attain an appointment to public office.

That part of the law is here:

18 U.S.C. § 211 – Acceptance or solicitation to obtain appointive public office

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.

The beginning part of the law relates more directly with the situation in that it addresses the Promise of employment or other benefit for political activity.

That part of the law is here:

18 U.S.C. § 600 – 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

One of their defenses is that anything offered would be without compensation, as would be addressed in accepting an offer, but being appointed to a high level advisory board has the effect of increased political power and previlage, or in a word, a benifit and at the least, a position that will generate increased contributions towards his campaign chest.
It would appear that someone is guilty with the finger pointing at Clinton. Somehow I don’t see bubba taking the fall and risk going to prison for Obama. The law does not let Obama or anyone in his administation off the hook if they knew about it. It might be that even if he did not know, he still has Nixon’s problem in that he was involved in trying to cover up a crime, if one is proven to have been committed, which seems to have been admitted to by the joint Whitehouse / Sestak response.

Franklyn on May 28, 2010 at 2:09 PM

He says the Sec 600, only applies “to a position created by an Act of Congress” (can anyone check that?) therefore no crime could have been done.
Odie1941 on May 28, 2010 at 1:55 PM.

Another smoke screen. How did he determine that Sec. 600 only implies to those created by an act of Congress?

In a courtroom, I believe this would result in an attorney jumping up and saying “OBJECTION….no foundation” followed quickly with the judge saying “SUSTAINED”.

BobMbx on May 28, 2010 at 2:09 PM

The White House continues to dig it’s own grave.

Major Garret is reporting he spoke to the White House, and they have said “of course we wanted to avoid a difficult and costly primary batlle by offering Sestak the unpaid position”

No where in Sec 600 does it say “election race interference” and/or “political gain” has to be FOR THE OPPOSING PARTY

They are flat out admitting they made the offer to effect a Senate primary race.

They are admitting they committed a crime. Holder cannot be truted to investigate properly – a Special Prosecutor must be brought in, per Issa…

Odie1941 on May 28, 2010 at 2:09 PM

It’s pretty clear this is a coordinated lie. My reasoning for this conclusion is that if it’s true that they just generally discussed a potential unpaid board seat briefly before “the conversation moved on to other things” then there would have been no need to stonewall all this time. An unpaid board position isn’t a job. Sestak repeatedly stated he was offered a job. The White House never came out and said that he was wrong until they released this carefully lawyered nonsense.

Jill1066 on May 28, 2010 at 2:10 PM

He says the Sec 600, only applies “to a position created by an Act of Congress” (can anyone check that?) therefore no crime could have been done.
Odie1941 on May 28, 2010 at 1:55 PM.
Another smoke screen. How did he determine that Sec. 600 only implies to those created by an act of Congress?

In a courtroom, I believe this would result in an attorney jumping up and saying “OBJECTION….no foundation” followed quickly with the judge saying “SUSTAINED”.

BobMbx on May 28, 2010 at 2:09 PM

Simply reporting what he said, never said I agreed with it.

Hence, my follow up commentary.

Odie1941 on May 28, 2010 at 2:11 PM

Dick Morris said that Judge Napolitano had a good idea: Republican Attorney General Corbett in PA could investigate this since Sestak holds a PA seat.

Akzed on May 28, 2010 at 2:00 PM

What ever it takes. They need to get these people telling these stories under oath. Right now Sestak can lie all he wants and all he’s gonna lose is the Senate seat.

BigWyo on May 28, 2010 at 2:11 PM

Except for the part “skirted the law”. I’m with others here who opine when the WH admitted to asking Sestak if he would be ok with an advisory position in exchange for dropping out, by the letter-of-the-law, that’s illegal.

LastRick on May 28, 2010 at 12:55 PM

I am not so into knick-knacky stuff. What did bother me was that the “purist” WH response to this.

This story sort of clears that up.

Makes Gibbs and Axelrod look like idiots, but who cares?

AnninCA on May 28, 2010 at 2:12 PM

The typical Zero diversion is that Clintoon made the offer. The Clintoons do nothing for free. Clinton under oath (also indicated by his willingness to mislead judges and suborn perjury in others) is useless as his disbarment has proven.

Therefore, if there is a felony in all this it probably is the White House payoff to Clintoon to relay the White House offer to Sestak. Exactly the kind of quid pro quo sleaze athe perhaps not-so-former Clintoon lackey named Eric Holder would be expected to orchestrate.

viking01 on May 28, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Most honest, open, ethical, transparent government that meddles in your states primaries EVER.

Good Lt on May 28, 2010 at 2:13 PM

The most Transparent and most Ethical administration EVAH!

MikeknaJ on May 28, 2010 at 2:14 PM

He did not have sexual relations with Sestak! But somebody is definitely getting screwed and it is probably the public.

joedoe on May 28, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Simply reporting what he said, never said I agreed with it.

Hence, my follow up commentary.

Odie1941 on May 28, 2010 at 2:11 PM

Mine was not a negative comment in response to yours. Apologies. And I agree with your commentary.

BobMbx on May 28, 2010 at 2:20 PM

This story is going to quickly collapse under its weight of lies. There are way too many people involved in this lie and when that many people have to try to keep the story straight, calamity ensues.

yogi41 on May 28, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Dick Morris said that Judge Napolitano had a good idea: Republican Attorney General Corbett in PA could investigate this since Sestak holds a PA seat.

Akzed on May 28, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Hey…I hear there’s gonna be a former prosecutor looking for a job pretty soon….IIRC, he’s in PA. Spittle, Lectern…his name is something like that.

BobMbx on May 28, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Another person who needs to be interrogated is Hillary Clinton. When the Secretary of State’s spouse is making job offers that’s an indicator that Hil is having trouble keeping Bubba under control (not that she ever did). Also, Hillary under oath is useless because if anyone asked her her name under oath she’s almost certain to parrot “I don’t recall.”

viking01 on May 28, 2010 at 2:23 PM

He did not have sexual relations with Sestak! But somebody is definitely getting screwed and it is probably the public.

Barack to America…”Just swallow, Honey…”

Ragspierre on May 28, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Bubba to Bama:

“IS….its a great word.”

As the late, great Nixon would have said:

“Stonewall ‘em. Works everytime”

BobMbx on May 28, 2010 at 2:24 PM

This is an honest question, and I haven’t read all the comments, so don’t know if anyone has addressed it, but every one keeps talking about “the law” being broken… that it’s against the law to tamper with primaries, or against the law to offer a job to a candidate.

What law(s) specifically?

Tom_Shipley on May 28, 2010 at 2:28 PM

WOW!

This is the most outrageous load of horseshit in human history!

IF the press does NOT look into this, then it will confirm the complete demise of a free press in this country. And that really does scare me.

Justrand on May 28, 2010 at 2:29 PM

The office of Robert F. Bauer, the White House counsel, has concluded that Mr. Emanuel’s proposal did not violate laws prohibiting government employees from promising employment as a reward for political activity because the position being offered was unpaid.

Just saw this… which gets into a little detail about the law. So, it seems Obama administration tried to disuage Slestak (or whatever his name is) from running. As part of that, they offered him a position on an advisory board, which is unpaid.

I’m guessing that holds water legally. As others have said, this surely isn’t the first or last time an administration has looked to protect key a incumbent. If it’s not illegal, it’s not illegal. And I’m guessing there can be other examples of similar “tampering” by previous administrations. Question is, if nothing illegal was done, should it be deemed illegal in the future?

Tom_Shipley on May 28, 2010 at 2:36 PM

disuage=dissuade. Not sure where that came from.

Tom_Shipley on May 28, 2010 at 2:37 PM

This is an honest question, and I haven’t read all the comments, so don’t know if anyone has addressed it, but every one keeps talking about “the law” being broken… that it’s against the law to tamper with primaries, or against the law to offer a job to a candidate.

What law(s) specifically?

Go to “Legal Insurrection”. He cites to the statutes.

Ragspierre on May 28, 2010 at 2:39 PM

I wonder what Joe Scarborough is saying now?

For the past 3-4 months, Morning Joe has been saying Sestak directly told him the job offer was for Sec of Navy, and this came directly from the WH.
Sestek campaigned on “the WH doesn’t want me to win, and they tried to bribe me to get out”. What a crock of shinola!

AND what about Sen Spector?

The WH was going to clear the field for his turncoat decision by giving Sestek an UNPAID advisory position through someone not even remotely tied to the WH, who has said that Obama could “kiss my ass”?

How cheap he must feel! I’d like to hear his response to this.

gonnjos on May 28, 2010 at 2:41 PM

I can’t believe Sestak is going along with this… I hope the people in PA hand him a defeat of epic porportion…they have to remember that this cesspool of a country that Clinton, Obama, Axelrod, Emmanuel and now Sestak are creating is a cesspool they and thier children will have to live in to…

CCRWM on May 28, 2010 at 2:42 PM

Question is, if nothing illegal was done, should it be deemed illegal in the future?

Two better questions;

1. How gullible would you have to be to eat this story?

2. If nothing illegal was done, why was this stonewalled for months at appreciable political cost?

Ragspierre on May 28, 2010 at 2:42 PM

Just because a job is unpaid doesn’t mean it has no value, power or influence. Payoffs aren’t always in legal tender but rather in territory and oversight and future advancement. Just ask the Mafia.

viking01 on May 28, 2010 at 2:43 PM

“We’re looking to fundamentally change the status quo in Washington. It’s a status quo that extends beyond any particular party, and right now that status quo is fighting back with everything it’s got, with the same old tactics that divide and distract us from solving the problems people face…we’re up against the idea that it’s acceptable to say anything and do anything to win an election, such as trading pardons of Puerto Rican terroroists for ethnic votes in a Senate race.” – Candidate Obama, Night of the South Carolina Democratic Primary

I quote from memories.

Just like the White House.

Noel on May 28, 2010 at 2:44 PM

2. If nothing illegal was done, why was this stonewalled for months at appreciable political cost?

Well, nothing was stonewalled for months. This didn’t become a story until last week? Slestak made his comment months ago, but no one cared about it until recently. My guess is that the “stonewalling” was the Obama administration looking into exactly what happened. When story broke (rebroke?) it’s quite possible they weren’t sure if they had broken a law or not.

Tom_Shipley on May 28, 2010 at 2:48 PM

I wish everyone could have seen the doofus on Meghan Kelly’s show. You’ll never guess what he said. “Bush did it.” While being unable to produce an example. The Left better hold a seminar and get everyone better talking points.

Cindy Munford on May 28, 2010 at 2:50 PM

Lying bastards!

MCGIRV on May 28, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Tom_Shipley on May 28, 2010 at 2:48 PM

This became a story in February for the rest of the country.

Cindy Munford on May 28, 2010 at 2:53 PM

Well, nothing was stonewalled for months. This didn’t become a story until last week? Slestak made his comment months ago, but no one cared about it until recently. My guess is that the “stonewalling” was the Obama administration looking into exactly what happened. When story broke (rebroke?) it’s quite possible they weren’t sure if they had broken a law or not.

You are ill informed. “Fibs” Gibbs has been dodging this story…which is a stonewall…for the best part of a year.

As an attorney, I could have told them “yes” or “no” in a day on the issue of legality. Start-to-finish, from jump.

Ragspierre on May 28, 2010 at 2:54 PM

Tom_Shipley: “My guess is that the “stonewalling” was the Obama administration looking into exactly what happened.”

LOL!!! Thank you…on a gloomy day I really needed a good belly-laugh!!

Justrand on May 28, 2010 at 2:55 PM

On the same day the WH report was released, just before release, Obama and Clinton lunched together. Coincidence?

The report comes one day after President Obama insisted “nothing improper” happened with Sestak. On that same day, Obama had lunch with Clinton.

“This is punishable by prison. This is a felony,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who has been leading the charge for more details on the allegation.

“This is about the White House. This is not about Congressman Sestak,” Issa said, adding that he wants to know what Clinton was empowered to say. “They’ve answered a question and it begs many more answers,” he said.

petefrt on May 28, 2010 at 2:56 PM

Why in the world does Mr. Obama want to be indebted to the husband of the woman he beat in the primary? Especially with the dubious tactics Mr. Obama used against Ms. Clinton. Party loyalty or the overblown belief in his own charm are not things I would bet on.

Cindy Munford on May 28, 2010 at 2:57 PM

BTW Zero’ latest photo-op currently in progress on FoxNews

viking01 on May 28, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Why in the world does Mr. Obama want to be indebted to the husband of the woman he beat in the primary?

Cindy Munford on May 28, 2010 at 2:57 PM

Whatever alliance there is here between Clinton and Obama is so strange that it reeks of desperation. It looks like the WH is scared to death by this.

petefrt on May 28, 2010 at 3:03 PM

The whole thing stinks to high heaven. If this is all that happened why wouldn’t Stestak just say so and be done with it? I think everyone involved in this is a liar, including Mr. President. I sure wouldn’t trust anything Bill Clinton had to say, he lies when he swears to God to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

scalleywag on May 28, 2010 at 3:05 PM

it’s quite possible they weren’t sure if they had broken a law or not.

Tom_Shipley on May 28, 2010 at 2:48 PM

How many lawyers are there in this administration? And Obama himself is a Harvard Law man, and a “constitutional scholar.” He should be able to figure out the legal course before an offer is made, at least in an ethical administration….

cs89 on May 28, 2010 at 3:06 PM

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