Monday, 24 May 2010

Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak Accuses White House of Bribery

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Allegations that President Barack Obama offered Congressman Joe Sestak a “high-ranking” cabinet position in order for Sestak to drop out of the Senate race against Democratic incumbent Arlen Specter may prove to be detrimental to the Obama administration.

In February 2010, Congressman Joe Sestak admitted to local talk show host Larry Kane that the Obama administration “dangled a high-ranking job in front of him” as a means of convincing Sestak to reconsider running against Specter. 

Fox News reports that the “White House stays mum” on the question of Sestak’s job. While the White House refuses to discuss the allegations in any real detail, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs asserts that upon review of conversations between the parties involved, “nothing inappropriate” was found. 

“I’m not going to get further into what the conversations were. People that have looked into them assure me that they weren’t inappropriate”, Gibbs claims. 

Contrarily, this past weekend, Sestak told NBC’s “Meet the Press”, “I was offered a job. Anybody else has to decide for themselves what to say upon their role. And that’s their responsibility.” Sestak does not wish to divulge information about the position he was offered, however. 

Even though Sestak openly claims that bribery took place, Gibbs continues to insist that it is the Republicans who are attempting to “dredge this up” because Sestak is leading the Republican nominee Pat Toomey in the Senate race. As it stands, Sestak leads Toomey by a small margin, 46-42 percent, according to the latest Rasmussen Report. 

Michael Steele, Republican National Committee Chairman, responds to Gibbs accusations by noting that since Sestak himself is making the allegations, it is the responsibility of the White House to “either corroborate that or call him a liar.” 

Steele went on to question whether the actions of the White House, if confirmed, are “proper, ethical, and legal.”

Judge Andrew Napolitano answered that question in an interview on Fox News. “Federal law makes it a felony to offer ‘anything of value’ to an official of the government in return for a decision in your favor by that official of the government; it is called bribery.” 

In fact, it has prompted some to call for Articles of Impeachment to be brought against President Obama, including Floyd Brown of the Floyd Report and Congressman Darrell Issa. Issa has requested that Attorney General Eric Holder launch an investigation into the allegations, recommending the appointment of a Special Investigator to conduct the investigation. 

If the information is corroborated, the President and his administration face serious consequences. The Constitution specifies, “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” 

This is not the first time President Barack Obama has been accused of involvement in supposed backroom deals related to the sale of a Senate. In April, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich requested a trial subpoena for President Obama to appear in court on June 3 to address accusations that Blago intended to sell a Senate seat. Questions have been raised, however, of just how involved President Obama was in the alleged sale of the Senate seat (See: "Obama's Subpoena Request Reveals Secrets.") 

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A similar accusation by a member of Obama’s own party does not bode well for the President.