We are the 99%

May 26, 2010

Sestak Job Offer

I heard Jim Quinn and Rose Tennant froth at the mouth and fall over backwards over this yesterday morning.

My friends on the Trib Braintrust have been on this story for a few months. This is from March:
A special prosecutor must investigate whether the Obama administration offered U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak a high-ranking federal job in exchange for dropping his Democrat primary challenge to U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter.

Rep. Sestak made that claim during a February radio interview. He didn't bite. A White House spokesman says whatever conversations there were "are not problematic."

But U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight committee, says this "has all the makings of a cover-up" of bribery, election interference by government officials and political use of federal jobs. If he doesn't get White House answers by April 5, he'll call for a special prosecutor.

The alleged violations carry jail terms of up to one year. And with White House wagons circling to protect Sen. Party-Switcher, a special prosecutor is warranted.
I heard Jim say something like, "Same as Watergate - the coverup is worse than the crime."

Crime?

Too bad, (and my apologies to any Gertrude Stein/Alice B Toklas fans reading this) but there is no there there and there hasn't been for a long time.

The AP from February:
Ethics attorneys in Washington said such offers are common.

Melanie Sloan, director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, described it as “politics as usual.”
And Marc Abinder at The Atlantic said the same in March:
Now, trading an administration job -- a thing of value -- for a political favor might well constitute bribery. It is also very common. A Nexus search turns up numerous examples. In 1981, President Reagan offered S.I. Hayakawa, then California's senior senator, a job if he declined to run for reelection. We know this because Reagan's chief political adviser admitted as much on the record.
Reagan did it? I wonder if Jim Quinn or the Trib Braintrust knows this.

Talkingpointsmemo has something more recent:
Even those who used to prosecute public corruption cases agree. "Talk about criminalizing the political process!" said Peter Zeidenberg, a former federal prosecutor with the Justice Department's Public Integrity unit. "It would be horrible precedent if what really truly is political horsetrading were viewed in the criminal context of: is this a corrupt bribe?"

And Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor who as the head of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington isn't known for going on easy public corruption, concurred. "There is no bribery case here," she said. "No statute has ever been used to prosecute anybody for bribery in circumstances like this."

Sloan added that Issa's move was more about politics. "It's not at all about whether there was actual criminal wrongdoing," she said. "It's about how to go after Sestak."
Yes, that's exactly what it is.

8 comments:

Bram Reichbaum said...

Do we really want to use the "it's politics as usual" defense for Obama?

I agree it's almost certainly not illegal ... and to me it wouldn't be immoral provided that Sestak WAS WELL QUALIFIED for whatever job he was offered, which he very likely was. So I'm unconcerned about the deal. However I'm concerned about the uncomfortable silence and the traction this gossipy issue seems to generate. I think a disclosure may be in order just on general principle.

rich10e said...

Bram...Home Run...Reaqan did it..nahnah..not right then;still not right today

EdHeath said...

My understanding is that Sestak himself mentioned the job offer, without saying what it was, in the past. FWIW.

This is becoming a tricky issue, because of course we want people to be able to make honest criticism of the Obama administration and the Democrats in general. But I think a case can be made that very little of what is coming from the right is honest criticism. "Death panels". Van Jones is proof that the Obama administration actually wants to make America communist? A sudden obsession by conservatives with fiscal responsibility (now that they are out of power) and eliminating the deficit. A sudden obsession by conservatives with spending money to stimulate the economy to produce jobs. A continuing obsession by conservatives to cut taxes (or keep the Bush tax cuts). Objection to Elena Kagan because the court has no protestants.

At risk of bringing screaming conservative into this thread, yelling at the top of their lungs about how I am causing the apocalypse, I will say these are essentially minor distractions. We have eight years of proof of what Republicans really believe. But just consider, if there were not these dishonest criticisms being made, if the HCR debate had been about how to implement government regulation instead of BS about destroying the greatest health care system ever known ... maybe Obama could have delegated his interior secretary to delegate someone trusted to look at what the Minerals Management Service had done for the last eight years. But Obama and the Democrats were distracted by all this petty crap being thrown at them by Republican monkeys. And now a big part of the gulf is dying.

How about rich10e, ready to ride a bike to work. Even just one day a week?

rich10e said...

Hey Ed,I ride a bike to work everyday!!!!Look my picture...bike riding clothes....and i truly do..what about you!!! and stay topical,you always go off on your tangents!! You are so stuck in your ideological rut that you can't see over the top of it.As for finances and the economy, If you don't see Europe as a precursor to the US,you have your eyes sewed closed!!

Just a couple weeks ago I was discussing in this blog the damaging actions of unionized gov't workers in greece and how their violence ended in the murder of three bank employees.Last week a mob of 500 police escorted SEIU thugs descended upon the home of a BOA employee.The police allowed the "rally"on the bankers porch and front lawn for fear of the violence that may have occured by trying to break it up.But back to our topic....

DEMs FROTH AND FALL OVER BACKWARDS...

Dems: Sestak must explain job offer
By: Shira Toeplitz
May 27, 2010 04:42 AM EDT

Frustrated by the ongoing distraction, Democrats are stepping up their calls for Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) to resolve the flap surrounding his claim that the White House offered him a job in exchange for dropping out of the Senate primary.

Several Pennsylvania Democrats, including Gov. Ed Rendell, called on Sestak to better explain himself so that his campaign and the White House can move beyond the matter, which has drawn increased coverage in the eight days since he defeated Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and has led to sharp Republican criticism.

“I think he should be more precise, and I think the White House should also give a little more detail,” Rendell told POLITICO.

Rendell joined the ranks of Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who said Tuesday that Sestak needed to explain what he was offered to get out of the Pennsylvania Senate primary, in which the state and national Democratic establishment were lined up behind Specter.

EdHeath said...

Yes, Rich, I can see how Europe is a precursor to the US. After all, they have unions, we have unions, and for some reason (recently) sometimes unions are angry and therefore out of control and must be suppressed. Also, the US has multiple national entities and one currency, and if one or more of our national entities accumulates debt or has a recession, that entity is in trouble because it can not devalue its currency to promote exports and restrain imports. We are exactly like that.

My point was that maybe we should be more careful about what questions or accusations we level at the Obama administration, so that instead of who called himself a communist fifteen years ago, we worry about what the Mineral Management Service hasn't done in the last nine years. But you are right, we should worry about this job offer thing. I remember when Republicans/conservatives forced Reagan to resign for doing that.

Sorry, I wouldn't have recognized your clothes as of the bike riding variety. But no matter, good on you for riding to work. You're a better man than me, Gunga Din.

rich10e said...

Ed not at all...bad knees and the bike is soo much better than running....debt is over running the entire country..Sestak's job offer is just a distraction from the needed work of trimming budgets on all levels fed,state and local.....the nation's gov'ts are almost all bankrupt....

EdHeath said...

rich10e, your short comment provides a virtual cornucopia of opportunities to challenge and question those three or so political statements. I'll restrain myself and simply ask whether you think Keynes had anything useful to say.

My brother said to me recently he thinks the bike is "too efficient". He bike or golf cart commutes about two miles to work in a small town in Georgia (bikes home and back for lunch). He was complaining because I guess he didn't have as much aerobic stamina as he wanted to have when playing tennis.

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