White House Counsel Robert Bauer has released a ridiculous attempt at a defense for the Obama administration’s trying to bribe Joe Sestak to pull out of the Senate primary in Pennsylvania. In the memo, Bauer tries a nifty little sleight of hand. He focuses on the fact that Sestak was not offered a position as secretary of the Navy, but was instead offered an unpaid advisory position. Well, let me tell you, it doesn’t matter whether he was offered a job as the volunteer toilet cleaner at the White House; if he was offered a job contingent on his exiting the Senate race, it’s a quid pro quo deal, and illegal.
In the memo, Bauer says that “options for Executive Branch service were raised with [Sestak].” That’s lawyer-speak for “he was offered a job working for the president.” He goes on to say, “Efforts were made in June and July of 2009 to determine whether Congressman Sestak would be interested in service on a Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board, which would avoid a divisive Senate primary,” which is lawyer-speak for “the administration tried to figure out whether Sestak was sleazy enough to take a bribe and drop out of the race.”
Later on, Bauer says that “Congressman Sestak declined the suggested alternatives, remaining committed to his Senate candidacy.” Lawyer-speak for Sestak telling the administration to shove it, and that he wasn’t going to take a bribe.
Then, as though the Democratic Party is above the law, Bauer writes, “The Democratic Party leadership had a legitimate interest in averting a divisive primary fight and a similarly legitimate concern about the Congressman [Sestak] vacating his seat in the House.” So, according to Bauer, because the Democratic Party thought it was OK, it was perfectly legal for them to attempt to bribe Sestak out of his run for Senate.
I don’t know who chose Mr. Bauer to write this memo, but it is essentially a confession. It absolutely states that a quid pro quo deal was offered to Joe Sestak and that he refused. That type of deal is absolutely against the law.
One victory was accomplished for the administration, or at least Barack Obama, in this memo. All the blame was placed on Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel was implicated in the setup of the bribe, and the position offered doesn’t necessarily need presidential appointment, meaning that President Obama didn’t necessarily know about the deal. So if there are criminal proceedings, Emanuel will take the fall, and Obama will likely get away scot-free, with a sad look back over his shoulder at Rahm being carted off to jail.
Using a position in the executive branch to influence electoral politics is illegal. Eric Holder should immediately appoint a special prosecutor to the case. Rahm Emanuel should have the decency to take a hiatus while his character is being examined, and the president should address the situation himself in front of cameras in an extensive press conference to explain to the American people why anyone in his administration would think something like this is OK.