In the heat of a rough primary campaign Joe Sestak said he was offered a job by the White House. Contrary to Joe Scarborough’s statements, Sestak never said specifically what job. But his primary political gamesmanship is now coming back to haunt him. No doubt Ed Rendell is enjoying this after his machine was humiliated by Sestak’s win. Republicans smell an opening and are amassing:
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder today, all seven Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee “urge the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Congressman Joe Sestak’s claim that a White House official offered him a job to induce him to exit the Pennsylvania Senate primary race against Senator Arlen Specter.”
The seven — Sens. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Jon Kyl or Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Cornyn of Texas and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma — allege that the offer would appear to violate federal criminal laws, including 18 U.S.C. 600, which prohibits promising a government position “as consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity” or “in connection with any primary election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates for any political office.”
But Greg Sargent has this exactly backwards.
It’s long past time for the White House to say what happened on their end, if only for the sake of the Senate race. If for no other reason than this sort of thing goes on all the time. The White House’s silence is what’s made this worse, even if you think Sestak is being hoisted on his own primary petard. It’s an important Senate seat and Pennsylvania matters to Obama looking forward.
After his win, Joe Sestak is now dependent on The Boss and his machine, both of which has a history of taking care of themselves, not others.
Not that this will hold off Republicans, who are moving forward as only Republicans can do.
For those of you political novices, this is a perfect example of Republican hardball 101. It’s something that Democrats never play and from which lessons are never taken.
Someone in the White House has to take the fall on this or Pat Toomey is going to benefit. Who will it be? …or will Obama hang Sestak out like he hung out Arlen Specter?