The Pennsylvania State Democratic Primary election held May 18 was a hard-fought and closely followed election. Since Pennsylvania is a key battleground state, this is to be expected as the coming November mid-term elections are critical to the current efforts of the Democratic party to hold on to its control of both the house and senate. However, the job offer has apparently led to other problems as well.
Why It’s Important
The City of Philadelphia is considered a key to the election effort. Joe Sestak (D-PA) defeated Arlen Specter (D-PA) to win the Democratic Party’s nomination for the upcoming Senatorial race. This was controversial enough, considering Specter’s recent “conversion” to the Democratic side in a move considered a desperate gambit to keep his political career alive. President Obama openly supported Specter, as evidenced by the door hangers with the photos of Specter and Obama embedded in them.
The Problematic Offer
Rumors of an alleged attempt to “rig” the PA Primary in favor of Arlen Specter surfaced in February; Joe Sestak alleges the White House offered him a job in exchange for dropping the race. The original story was treated as “politics as usual.” On May 28, in a report released by the Obama Administration, the politics as usual stance quickly changed when they admitted to the offer and later claimed no wrongdoing on the part of the White House. It was then revealed that former President Bill Clinton urged Sestak to take a job offered in the presidential panel, at the behest of Rahm Emanuel, the White House Chief of Staff. Allegedly, the White house thought this was the answer to get Specter elected. Since Sestak won the primary, PA knows his answer to the offer.
Current Claims and Latest Information
The White House is claiming that no wrongdoing took place because Mr. Clinton made the offer and he is not connected to the White House, so Obama is not responsible. In the same report, the White House claims no offer was made at all, so which is it? The Justice Department and the US Office of Special Council claims they finished their full investigation and “found no evidence of a bribe.” This is why Darrell Issa (R-CA) is insisting the Justice Department hire an independent investigator because the JD and the US Office of Special Council cannot be trusted to investigate themselves and find anything wrong, in a report dated June 9 2010 from CNSNews.com. The justice Department has since declined the independent investigation and declined to answer most relevant questions, appearing to hide the truth.
On June 14, in a report by Richard painter, the ethics lawyer to former President George W. Bush, he states that the “politics as usual,” conducted by Obama and Clinton were not illegal. Additionally, because there is no value tied to the job position offered to Sestak, it was not illegal to make the offer. A survey conducted by the Rasmussen Reports on June 8 2010 shows that most Pennsylvanians do not think anything the White House did was “unusual,” and that at least 40 percent of voters think what they did was “business as usual,” according to a statement made by Scott Rasmussen, who is the president of Rasmussen Reports.
Another, Related Problem
Right now, it would seem clear that Democratic Pennsylvanians want Sestak in the Senate, despite the allegations of a bribe, which was originally reported in February. However, those Pennsylvanians now have another problem to deal with. Apparently, many of the “Democratic” Pennsylvanians who backed Specter in the primary are now reportedly switching sides and voting for Toomey instead of Sestak. Historically, those who voted for Specter, a Democrat, would switch to Sestak, also a Democrat, in the upcoming 2010 Senatorial race, between Sestak and Pat Toomey (R-PA) to keep it “in the family.” This would essentially vote Toomey and the Republicans out.
However, this is proving to be untrue, according to a report released by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on June 8 2010. This just makes it more obvious that Specter switched parties (Republican to Democrat) to save his career. Now, this move could end Sestak’s career as well, since he will have not only all of Toomey’s original supporters (81 percent of the Republican primary vote) to battle, but Specter’s as well. These two problems are going to make it very difficult for any Democratic Pennsylvanian to get what they want, Joe Sestak in the Senate.
“The Hatch Act information,” Wikipedia
Fred Lucas, “Issa Seeks independent probe into White House Offers,” CNSNews
Richard Painter, “The Separation of Politics and State,” NYTimes.com
Robert Gibbs, “Press Briefing by Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, 6-3-2010,” The White house Press Release
Daniel Malloy, “Some Specter loyalists Line up to Support Toomey,” The Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Fox News, “Sestak Repeats job Offer Allegation, Issa Seeks Details of Alleged Bribe,” Fox News
“White House asked Bill Clinton to Urge Sestak to Drop out of Senate Race,” Fox News
Jon Ward, “Top Obama Adviser Says ‘No Evidence’ that Sestak’s Bribe Charge is True,” The Daily Caller
Corruption Chronicles, “Obama Used Bill Clinton to Orchestrate Sestak Bribery Scheme,” Judicial Watch
Steve Dennis, “Darrell Issa asks an Independent Agency to investigate the Sestak Scandal,” America’s Watchtower