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May 28, 2010

Rahm Emanuel Used Clinton To Approach Sestak

Topics: Political News and commentaries

In an update to our previous post on the Sestak job offer scandal, the New York Times reports that President Obama's chief of staff used former President Bill Clinton as an intermediary to see if Representative Joe Sestak would drop out of a Senate primary if given a prominent, but unpaid, advisory position:

[...] Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, asked Mr. Clinton to explore the possibilities last summer, according to the briefed individuals, who insisted on anonymity to discuss the politically charged situation. Mr. Sestak said no and went on to win last week's Pennsylvania Democratic primary against Senator Arlen Specter.

The White House did not offer Mr. Sestak a full-time paid position because Mr. Emanuel wanted him to stay in the House rather than risk losing his seat. Among the positions explored by the White House was an appointment to the President's Intelligence Advisory Board, which provides independent oversight and advice the president. But White House officials discovered it would not work because Mr. Sestak could not serve on the board while still serving in Congress.

"Unpaid, advisory position"? Sounds like Obama and Clinton have indeed cooked up a cover-up story - but an unpaid advisory position is not a job offer, that's not what Sestak claimed. This is a typical Obama administration convoluted, sophisticated, political twist to get them off the hook legally and defuse the controversy.

Let's think for a moment. Fox News reports that the White House asked Bill Clinton to talk to Sestak about getting out of the race and that Clinton had lunch with Obama yesterday -- and the White House talks to Sestak's brother, a lawyer, about what they are going to say on the whole affair.

An "old Washington hand" asks, "Do the words "obstruction of justice" ring a bell?"

Ed Morrissey sees the WH story as possibly passing the legal test but not the smell test:

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.
As Rich Lowry points out, why would Sestak even consider an unpaid position in exchange for standing down in the Senate primary? Why would anyone bother to offer one? We'll learn more presumably, but the unpaid position sounds suspiciously like an after-the-fact attempt to legally sanitize the job offer.

In other words, the story still stinks to high heaven.

Posted by Richard at May 28, 2010 10:51 AM

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