Did someone in the White House offer Rep. Joe Sestak a job in the administration if he would drop out of the Senate race against Arlen Specter? That’s what Sestak claimed during his successful Democratic primary race against the White-House endorsed Specter. If so, that would be a federal crime. If the president did it, so people are claiming, that would be an impeachable offense.
The controversy revolves around an oft-repeated statement by Rep. Sestak, D-Pa., that he had been offered a job by the Obama administration in exchange for dropping out of the senatorial primary against Obama supporter Sen. Arlen Specter.
Sestak said he refused the offer. He continued in the Senate primary and defeated Specter for the Democratic nomination.
But Karl Rove, longtime White House adviser to President George W. Bush, said the charge is explosive because of federal law.
“This is a pretty extraordinary charge: ‘They tried to bribe me out of the race by offering me a job,’” he said on Greta Van Susteran’s “On the Record” program on the Fox News Channel. “Look, that’s a violation of the federal code: 18 USC 600 says that a federal official cannot promise employment, a job in the federal government, in return for a political act.
“Somebody violated the law. If Sestak is telling the truth, somebody violated the law,” Rove said. “Section 18 USC 211 says you cannot accept anything of value in return for hiring somebody. Well, arguably, providing a clear path to the nomination for a fellow Democrat is something of value.
He continued, citing a third law passage: “18 USC 595, which prohibits a federal official from interfering with the nomination or election for office. … ‘If you’ll get out, we’ll appoint you to a federal office’ – that’s a violation of the law.”
Is this just a tempest in a teapot brewed up by Fox News? Or is it a tempest in a Teapot Dome-scale scandal?