After months of evading questions, the White House appears to have confirmed that it did play a leading role in trying to get Rep. Joe Sestak to drop out of the race against now defeated Sen. Arlen Specter. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel reportedly asked former President Bill Clinton to offer an unpaid position on an intelligence board in exchange for Sestak pulling out.
While many Democrats have dismissed this as just politics as usual, I consider it a bit more serious. It is remarkable how quickly Democrats have forgiven such abuses and condemned those who object as simply naive. This is precisely what moral relativists in politics want of voters: to treat all political corruption as a fixed reality of government.
The White House is not allowed to trade government positions for political advantages. It is particularly abusive to hand out positions in the intelligence field — particularly with the continued intelligence failures of the last year. What makes this even more outrageous is that Sestak did not even quality for the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, here. It is a deal that is vintage Beltway. President Obama was supporting an establishment candidate (Specter) who switched parties for pure political convenience over a popular Democratic candidate by treating intelligence positions like party favors. The effort to protect Specter reinforces the view of a political establishment that is solely committed to the maintenance of its duopoly of control — treating voters as utter chumps. All of this was done in secret of course to leave Pennsylvania Democrats with the illusion of actually having a voice in the matter.
Yet, the White House insists that there was nothing “improper” — let alone criminal — in trading such positions for political advantage. The condemnation of such corrupt practices should not be confined to conservative commentators and GOP activists. There was a time when voters demanded more from our leaders — when there was a quaint notion of propriety in government service.
To Sestak’s credit, he refused to be bought despite his work in the Navy and interest in intelligence matters.
26 thoughts on “Report: White House Had Clinton Offer Intelligence Position to Sestak to Drop Out of Race Against Specter”
That seems to be the most likely interpretation to me as well.
It’s an arguable point, Isabel. I think they mean people who are hired by the gov’t, not elected officials. But I may be wrong. The law is not explicit from what I’ve heard, and I can’t find it myself (and I’m usually pretty good at finding the relevent laws).
I don’t condone what happened, but face it the gop have done it as well and worse.
If there’s to be an investigation, lets get them all.
My source was MSNBC – apparently it was mistaken (although I would appreciate it if anybody could verify that ’employed by the federal government’ includes people who are a part of the federal government – i.e. is a member of the House considered to be employed by the federal government?) If Sestak would have had to give up his House seat for an unpaid position, this doesn’t seem like much of a job offer at all…
Re: Sestak’s Eligibility to Sit on Intel Board as a Sitting Member of Congress:
To settle this issue once and for all (hopefully), the following paragraph is straight from the WH website that describes the Intel board Sestak was offered a seat on:
“The Board consists of not more than 16 members appointed by the President from among individuals WHO ARE NOT EMPLOYED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. Members are distinguished citizens selected from the national security, political, academic, and private sectors. The Board is a nonpartisan body, independent of the Intelligence Community, free from day-to-day management or operational responsibilities, and with full access to the complete range of intelligence-related information.”
I put the relevant portion in CAPS. Sestak as a sitting member of Congress was ineligible. How much clearer can you get????
I personally like Joe Sestak a lot, being prejudiced pro-Navy because of family background. He’s a retired three star admiral, not a vice-admiral. I wish this had never happened and he’d kept his trap shut about the whole thing, whatever it was.
I just think we need more information about what actually went on here before we can determine whether a crime was committed. At this point NO ONE has enough information about what actually transpired to make an assessment on criminality one way or the other.
Jersy and Startyblast-
Where do you get your information that Sestak could have remained in congress AND served on this committee? Every news source I’ve read indicates that he was ineligible for the seat unless he resigned. What’s your source? And, why on earth would Sestak resign his congressional seat to accept an unpaid seat on any committee?
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