Speaking of Felonies: The White House and the Sestak 'Bribe'
While Democrats continue to accuse Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney of being a felon until proven otherwise, it’s useful to remember an apparent felony that was allegedly committed by Barack Obama's White House in 2009: the attempted bribe of Democrat Joe Sestak. Sestak claimed the Obama administration offered him a job if he would stay out of the primary in Pennsylvania for the U.S. Senate seat then held by Arlen Specter.
Specter, formerly a Republican, had switched parties in April 2009, giving Democrats a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate that enabled them to pass any law they wanted. Until the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy that August, and the surprise victory of Republican Scott Brown in the special election that followed in Massachusetts in January 2010, the Obama administration hoped to use that majority to rush through health care reform.
There was one small catch: Specter evidently expected to be repaid for his defection, and the Obama administration was eager to oblige by ensuring that he ran unopposed. So they attempted to dissuade Sestak from running--and Sestak made the offer public, in an effort to cast himself as a Washington outsider versus the octagenarian Specter, the consummate Beltway insider. He told the story several times on the campaign trail.
As Karl Rove pointed out at the time, either Sestak was lying, or the White House had committed a felony--namely, offering a government job in exchange for something of value. The independent-minded Jake Tapper of ABC News prodded President Obama’s then-press secretary, Robert Gibbs, for answers--and Gibbs had none. Future House oversight chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) said the scandal could be Obama’s Watergate.
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