Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Sestak-Gate: Did Obama Commit an Impeachable Offense?
Sestak-Gate: Did Obama Commit an Impeachable Offense?
Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Rep. Joe Sestak, the winner of the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary, says quite openly and repeatedly that he was offered a job by the White House if he would drop out of the race against Sen. Arlen Specter. Having secured Specter's conversion to the Democratic Party, thus giving the party a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, the Obama administration obviously sought to keep its word to Specter that it would do its utmost to deliver the Democratic nomination to him. According to Sestak, that included a job offer.
Who made the offer? What position was offered? And when did it happen? Sestak, who was nominated on a platform of "transparency" refuses to answer any of these questions. The White House admits that a conversation took place but won't provide any details and insists that an "internal investigation" revealed that "nothing inappropriate" took place.
Or did it?
It is unlikely that Sestak was offered a job interviewing people for the census. Only a high-level job offer -- a Cabinet post or an ambassadorship to a key country -- would have sufficient gravitas to conceivably induce him to drop his primary challenge. Some have speculated that Sestak, a retired admiral, might have been offered the post of secretary of the navy. Others wonder that, since he is fluent in Russian, he was to be tapped for ambassador to Moscow.
And, before an offer of that magnitude were tendered, it would have had to have been cleared with the higher levels of the White House. How could an offer of a Cabinet post have been made without consultation with the chief of staff?
And how was the offer made? It would have to have been proffered by somebody who Sestak could reasonably assume was speaking for the president and could deliver on his end of the deal. A lower-level official wouldn't have that kind of clout. Could the offer have been tendered by Rahm Emanuel himself? It's clearly his style.
But, could Rahm or anyone else have made such an offer without consulting the president himself? You can't go around passing out Cabinet posts or ambassadorships without consulting the boss. Whatever position of that level the White House dangled in front of him, it would have to have been approved by the president.
And Sestak must have probed the person who conveyed the offer to ascertain its bona fides. He would reasonably have asked, "Did you clear this with the president?" Otherwise, why would he even consider such an offer?
The White House and Sestak are stonewalling questions from the media, and obviously, a Democratic controlled Congress is not about to go poking around asking about the proposed deal.
So how could the Republicans break it open?
The weak link here is Sestak himself, who claims that he embraces "transparency." Fueled by his primary victory and the momentum it generated, Rasmussen has him four points ahead of Pat Toomey, the GOP candidate. This lead won't hold up for long in the face of a refusal to respond to questions the public is entitled to have answered.
Toomey or the Republican Party or other independent expenditure groups should run ads throughout Pennsylvania asking these basic questions. They should tell Sestak that he ran on a platform of transparency and that its time to reveal who offered what and when.
Either Sestak is lying and there was never an offer, or the White House has skirted very close to having committed a crime or may have stepped over the edge. And, considering the stakes and the nature of what the offer would have had to have been, this scandal could reach very high indeed.
Is it a high crime and misdemeanor to offer someone something of value in return for withdrawing from a U.S. Senate race? We may be about to find out.
Look Who's Behind the White House/Sestak Stonewall
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
After three months of zipped lips and feigned ignorance, the Obama White House is finally taking real heat over Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak's consistent claims that the administration offered him a job to drop his Senate bid. Now it's time to redirect the spotlight where it belongs: on the top counsel behind the Washington stonewall, Bob "The Silencer" Bauer.
On Sunday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs glibly asserted that "lawyers in the White House and others have looked into conversations that were had with Congressman Sestak. And nothing inappropriate happened." With whom were these conversations had? Gibbs won't say. Neither will Attorney General Eric Holder, who dismissed "hypotheticals" when questioned about Sestak's allegations last week on Capitol Hill by GOP Rep. Darrell Issa of California. Holder is simply taking his cue from the commander-in-chief's personal lawyer and Democratic Party legal boss.
You see, on March 10, Issa also sent a letter to Bauer, the White House counsel to the president, requesting specifics: Did White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel contact Sestak? Did White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina (whom another Democrat, U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff, has accused of offering a cabinet position in exchange for his withdrawal)? How about the White House Office of Political Affairs? Any other individuals? What position(s) was/were offered in exchange for Sestak's withdrawal? And what, if any, steps did Bauer take to investigate possible criminal activity?
Bauer's answers? Zip. Nada. Zilch. While the veteran attorney ducked under a table with the president, Gibbs stalled publicly as long as he could -- deferring inquiries about the allegations one week by claiming he had been "on the road" and had "not had a chance to delve into this," and then admitting the next week that he had "not made any progress on that," refusing the week after that to deny or admit the scheme, and then urging reporters to drop it because "whatever happened is in the past."
But the laws governing such public corruption are still on the books. And unlike Gibbs, the U.S. code governing bribery, graft and conflicts of interest is rather straightforward: "Whoever solicits or receives ... any ... 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."
Bauer is intimately familiar with electoral law, Barack Obama, ethics violations and government job-trading allegations. And he's an old hand at keeping critics and inquisitors at bay.
A partner at the prestigious law firm Perkins Coie, Bauer served as counsel to the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Obama for America. He also served as legal counsel to the George Soros-funded 527 organization America Coming Together during the 2004 campaign. That get-out-the-vote outfit, helmed by Patrick Gaspard (the former Service Employees International Union heavy turned Obama domestic policy chief), employed convicted felons as canvassers and committed campaign finance violations that led to a $775,000 fine by the Federal Election Commission under Bauer's watch.
As I've reported previously, it was Bauer who lobbied the Justice Department unsuccessfully in 2008 to pursue a criminal probe of American Issues Project (AIP), an independent group that sought to run an ad spotlighting Obama's ties to Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. It was Bauer who attempted to sic the Justice Department on AIP funder Harold Simmons and who sought his prosecution for funding the ad. And it was Bauer who tried to bully television stations across the country to compel them to pull the spot. All on Obama's behalf.
More significantly, Bauer has served as Obama's personal attorney, navigating the corrupted waters of former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich's pay-for-play scandals in Illinois. Bauer accompanied Obama to an interview with federal investigators in Chicago. And he's got his hands full fighting Blago's motion to subpoena Obama in the Senate-seat-for-sale trial -- a subpoena that included references to a secret phone call between Obama and Blagojevich; an allegation that Emanuel floated his own suggested replacement for Obama's seat; an allegation that Obama told a "certain labor union official" that he would support (now-White House senior adviser) Valerie Jarrett to fill his old seat; and a bombshell allegation that Obama might have lied about conversations with convicted briber and fraudster Tony Rezko.
With not one, not two, but three Democrats (Sestak, Romanoff and Blagojevich) all implicating the agent of Hope and Change in dirty backroom schemes, "Trust Us" ain't gonna cut it. Neither will "Shut Up and Go Away." What did Bob "The Silencer" Bauer know, when did he know it, and how long does the Most Transparent Administration Ever plan to play dodgeball with the public?
Sestak/White House Bribery Scandal Ends Badly However You Slice It
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Posted by: Meredith Jessup at 11:50 AM
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell yesterday appeared on Fox News to encourage Rep. Joe Sestak and the Obama White House to come clean about the alleged bribery scheme surrounding Sestak's Senate campaign. Undoubtedly, Rendell realizes that this ongoing scandal is bad business for Dems in PA.
As you've undoubtedly heard by now, Sestak contends that the White House offered him a federal job in exchange for bowing out of the Democrats' Senate primary in Pennsylvania--a potential felony offense. The White House vehemently denies any wrongdoing, and despite making the accusation on multiple occasions, Sestak has dug in and refuses to reveal names, dates and details--which leaves the entire situation at a standstill.
Aside from the obvious obstruction of justice going on here, the political ramifications of this scenario are pretty serious. Sestak will face a tough general election battle against Pat Toomey this fall. But the longer this scandal drags on, the deeper Sestak will be drawn in.
If the White House is telling the truth, Sestak is a liar. On the other hand, if the White House is not being truthful, in not coming forward with further details, Sestak is working as an accomplice to cover up federal bribery and shielding a felon from potential criminal prosecution. And when election draws nearer, is the public supposed to take the White House's advice and support the Democrat candidate even though they are essentially calling him a liar?
Though the maintstream media don't seem to be paying particularly close attention to this scandal, the public is aware. Republicans are now calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate.
Sestak and the White House are left with two options: come clean or drag it on. Either way, something has to give and heads will roll, one way or another.
Posted by Brett at 12:09 PM