On this matter of offering federal jobs to potential candidates to induce them not to run against Senate Democratic incumbents, this White House is drifting dangerously close to the falls.
Colorado's Andrew Romanoff has now confirmed that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina trolled three federal jobs in front of him, if he would desist and not run against incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet.
And Romanoff has produced an e-mail where Messina presents the three-job menu, one of which might be his, if he passed up the Senate run. Two were with the Agency for International Development. The third was director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.
All three are juicy plums.
Romanoff and Messina both say no hard offer was made. And Robert Gibbs has assured the press the president had no idea Messina was talking to Romanoff about federal jobs that only Obama can fill.
But if Obama knew nothing of the Messina-Romanoff talks, who did? For Messina cannot appoint anyone to anything. Has Messina's boss, Rahm Emanuel, been given the franchise to offer a dessert tray of federal jobs to people he wants to keep out of Democratic primaries?
An independent investigation needs to be conducted to determine whether Chicago-style politics has been introduced into the West Wing.
For in the week since White House Counsel Robert Bauer issued his two-page report on his investigation into whether Rep. Joe Sestak was offered a job to stay out of the Pennsylvania Senate primary, that report has become scarcely credible.
Consider. Repeatedly, Sestak said he had been offered a job if he would not run. The job was widely thought to be secretary of the navy. If true, Sestak was charging someone high at the White House with having committed a felony: offering a federal job to influence the outcome of a federal election.
What made the issue combustible was that only Obama can appoint the navy secretary. Though no one suggested Obama made the offer, the White House denied any offer had been made.
When Sestak won the primary, the media began to press. Sestak stonewalled, repeating only he was offered a job and turned it down.
Came then the report of Bauer, which purported to clear up the conflicting statements.