The news media, intimidated until now, have finally started challenging Obama and his stonewalling administration. The issue is the bribe Rep. Joe Sestak alleges the White House offered in exchange for exiting the U.S. Senate primary in Pennsylvania. In response to tough questioning, the Obama administration issued a report they promised would answer all. It has failed to stop the queries.
On the Friday evening of Memorial Day weekend, Obama's team released their memo exonerating themselves from all wrongdoing in the bribery affair. Team Obama would like us all to believe that this self-generated report closes the file and the case. The problem is the memo raises more questions than it answers.
Representatives Darrell Issa, R-Calif.; Lamar Smith, R-Texas; and James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis. wrote in a response letter to the White House: "Rather than definitively resolve this matter, the memorandum had precisely the opposite effect: it appears to catalog a violation of the federal criminal code, the tampering of evidence, witness tampering and evasion of the legal process."
The report is riddled with inconsistencies and differs greatly from what previously has been alleged publicly. Let's review the facts.
Rep. Joe Sestak first stated in February that someone within the Obama administration offered him a Federal job in exchange for him dropping out of the race. The Congressman has stood by that contention under follow-up questioning. Sestak had this conversation with TV host Larry Kane.
Kane: "Were you ever offered a federal job to get out of this race?" Sestak: "Yes."
Kane again asks, "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 questioned. Sestak replied yes.
Clearly Joe Sestak, a Democratic Congressman, originally alleged that a "high ranking job" was offered to him by the White House.
The cover-up memo released by White House Counsel Bob Bauer states that "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. 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."
While the position offered migrated from being a job to some unnamed unpaid advisory role, the actual board discussed remains a mystery. Originally it was widely believed that Sestak was offered a spot on the Presidential Intelligence Advisory Board. This is highly unlikely given that as a sitting Congressman Sestak is ineligible to sit on that board. No government employees are allowed to sit on the Presidential Intelligence Advisory Board
Another disparity in the two stories surrounds how many times contact was made between Sestak and Clinton or was some other official from the administration also involved. The memo states that "efforts were made in June and July" to persuade Sestak to avoid the primary. Sestak claims that he only spoke with Clinton once and promptly informed him he would be staying in the race. This question was raised at a White House Press briefing and Robert Gibbs defaulted back to stonewalling and claiming that all the details are in the memo, when they clearly are not. One contact cannot happen in two different months.
In addition to whatever was offered to Rep. Sestak, the media is returning to a story that we covered in March involving Andrew Romanoff. Romanoff who is in a contested Senate primary in Colorado has long alleged that he was offered a job to drop out of the Colorado U.S. Senate race. Romanoff, to confirm his claim, released an e-mail from White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina that described three jobs that could potentially be his. As in the Sestak case these questions deserve independent investigation.
Offering a federal job in exchange for valuable actions is a felony under federal law. The only way those questions will be answered is if an independent special prosecutor is appointed to investigate. Obama promised to run an open and transparent administration and his actions have failed once again to live up to his promises. It is time for them to stop stonewalling and let the truth come out.
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