Friday, May 28, 2010

Obama on Sestak: It Depends on What the Definition of "Job" Is

The White House has released a paper trying to explain away the job offer offer of service on a "Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board, which would avoid a divisive Senate primary, allow him to retain his seat in the House, and provide him with an opportunity for additional service to the public in a high-level advisory capacity," but this still smells.

Bauer asserts, without providing any examples, that there “have been numerous, reported instances in the past when prior Administrations…discussed alternative paths to service for qualified individuals also considering campaigns for public office.” He then concludes that “[s]uch discussions are fully consistent with the relevant law and ethical requirements.”

Why would the White House take months to offer this explanation if there was no illegality to it? Wasn't this supposed to be the most ethical, competent White House in history?

What we're left with is either (a) lying by Joe Sestak about what was offered, (b) lying by the White House about what was offered, (c) incompetence by Joe Sestake about what was offered, or (d) incompetence on the part of the White House about what was offered. It's clear that this paper is an attempt to parse the language of the applicable law so that the White House's actions were not illegal and subject to--dare I say it?--impeachment.
Bauer admits that Rahm Emanuel asked Bill Clinton to offer Sestak an appointment to a “Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board,” and that the appointment would be attractive, i.e., a benefit. The statute does not absolve you of liability if you are offering someone an uncompensated appointment. It also specifies that you are guilty of a violation if you make such an offer “directly or indirectly.” Moreover, since the executive branch may not spend money that is not appropriated by Congress, any such board would be authorized by or at least paid for by an “Act of Congress.”

This situation definitely needs a special prosecutor appointed, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for the Obama minions to do the right thing. It's interesting that the same people screaming for a special prosecutor regarding the firing of U.S. attorneys are yawning and trying to change the subject on this.