Blago reveals White House quid-pro-quo deals

By: Michelle Malkin

We’ve had the Summer of Love and the Summer of the Shark. Now, are you ready for the Summer of Corruption? On Thursday, jury selection begins in the federal trial of disgraced former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois. The timing couldn’t be worse for Blago’s old Chicago pals in the White House. Just as Team Obama tries to bury one job-trading scandal, another one resurfaces.

It’s a useful reminder that Washington didn’t turn Obama into a business-as-usual politician. He was born and bred among the slimiest in their class.

At the center of the Blago trial is the convergence of the Chicago political machine — the corrupt Democratic Party establishment, Big Labor heavies at the Service Employees International Union and Team Obama.

In December 2008, the political ties that bind them all came under national scrutiny when federal prosecutors publicly released their criminal complaint against Blagojevich. SEIU figured prominently in Blago’s secretly taped musings on how to profit from his power to appoint Obama’s Senate replacement. So did a larger union umbrella federation, Change to Win, led by SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger. Blago hatched a plan to snag a $300,000-a-year job as head of Change to Win in exchange for appointing a union-friendly successor to Obama.

Like Obama, Blago enjoyed massive campaign donations and on-the-ground support from the SEIU’s Purple Army. Like Obama, Blago repaid his Big Labor backers with labor-friendly executive orders and legislative largesse to facilitate union organizing and carve out major portions of the health care industry for them. At the time of his arrest, Blago was preparing another executive order to expand the union power grab over an even larger portion of home health care workers targeted by the SEIU.

Blagojevich did the country an extraordinary unintended favor. As health care analyst David Catron wrote: “He has made it clear to the meanest intelligence that Obama emerged from a hopelessly corrupt political culture. Barack Obama oozed from the same stinking Chicago swamp that produced Blagojevich, and a man whose formative years were spent wallowing in the muck with such creatures isn’t likely to be long in the White House before the stench of pay-to-play politics begins to pervade the place.”

Fast-forward. Nearly two years later, Obama’s legal fixers can’t mask the Chicago-esque odor of Sestak-gate. The president’s legal team, led by chief fixer and legal counsel Bob Bauer, orchestrated a Memorial Day weekend document dump intended to squash mounting public criticism of the administration’s alleged government job offer to Pennsylvania Democratic senatorial candidate Joe Sestak. Bauer’s memo acknowledged that “options for Executive Branch service were raised with him” through former President Bill Clinton, whom White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel enlisted to woo Sestak.

Blago knows all about working with Team Obama through intermediaries to explore, ahem, “options.” Blago’s then-Chief of Staff John Harris allegedly mapped out a “three-way deal” to give the White House a “buffer” obscuring the obvious quid pro quo. SEIU would assist Obama with Blago’s appointment of a union-friendly candidate; Blago would get his cushy union job; and SEIU would be rewarded down the road with favors from the White House. Team Blago reached out to the SEIU. An unnamed SEIU official agreed to float their plan and “see where it goes.”

The Senate candidate Blago allegedly approached was top Obama adviser and Chicago political godmother Valerie Jarrett, who removed herself from the running when she took a top White House adviser post instead. Who was the “SEIU official” Team Blago spoke with and met? Internal communications in December 2008 fingered Obama’s longtime Chicago pal and SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff. Balanoff, not coincidentally, had been appointed by Blago to the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board.

Two days before Christmas 2008, legal counsel Greg Craig released an official self-exonerating report outlining contacts between Team Obama and Team Blago. Balanoff, it turns out, had indeed spoken with Jarrett. The Obama defense? Despite her much-touted political brilliance, the legal team argued, Jarrett “did not understand the conversation to suggest that the Governor wanted the cabinet seat as a quid pro quo for selecting any specific candidate to be the President-Elect’s replacement.” The Blago subpoena of the president filed last month begs to differ — and directly implicates Obama:

“…despite President Obama stating that no representatives of his had any part of any deals, labor union president (presumably SEIU’s Andy Stern) told the FBI and the United States Attorneys that he spoke to labor union official on Nov. 3, 2008, who received a phone message from Obama that evening. After labor union official listened to the message, labor union official told labor union president, “I’m the one.” Labor union president took that to mean that labor union official was to be the one to deliver the message on behalf of Obama that Senate Candidate B was his pick.”

It’s going to be a long, hot summer of Chicago corruption.

Sestak Job Offer Violated Federal Law?

by Hans von Spakovsky & Cully Stimson

Federal statutes seem to contradict a memorandum from the White House counsel released on Friday that claimed that no law was violated when Rep. Joe Sestak was offered a government post in exchange for dropping out of the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary against Sen. Arlen Specter.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs blithely dismissed the issue for months. “Lawyers in the White House and others have looked into conversations that were had with Congressman Sestak, and nothing inappropriate happened,” he said. But the two-page memorandum admitted that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel asked former President Bill Clinton to offer Sestak a position on a presidential or senior executive branch advisory board. Apparently Gibbs and the White House expect us to accept their self-investigation and self-evaluation that nothing “inappropriate” happened.

During his primary run, Sestak sought to elicit support by alleging that someone in the White House offered him a job last year if he dropped his challenge to Specter. However, he practically refused to talk about it and or say who made the offer. As an elected official, Sestak had an ethical obligation to reveal the details of what happened. His position that he had “said all I’m going to say on the matter” did not meet his fiduciary responsibilities. The public has a right to know exactly what happened, and whether a crime was committed.

Some claim that even if Sestak was offered a high-ranking job in exchange for dropping out of the Senate race, it would not have constituted a crime—that’s just “business as usual” in Washington. But such claims confuse two very different situations: one which is, indeed, business as usual; the other, a potential crime.

A 1980 opinion issued by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) at the Justice Department outlines the key distinction between what is legal and what is illegal under federal law. What is perfectly legal and what happens all the time in Washington is individuals being offered jobs for past political activity. A new President has several thousand patronage jobs to fill in the top ranks of the executive branch. Those jobs are filled based on a mix of professional competence and past political activity and support for the President or his party. That process does not violate federal law. Thus, if someone in the White House simply offered Sestak a job and did not tie the offer to anything related to the Senate race, then, that would arguably constitute business as usual.

However, what is illegal and not normal practice in Washington is to promise a federal job or appointment to an individual in exchange for future political activity. 18 U.S.C. § 600 prohibits the use of government-funded jobs or programs to advance partisan political interests. The statute makes it unlawful for anyone to “promise any employment, position, compensation, contract, appointment, or other benefit” to any person as a “consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity or for the support of or opposition to any candidate or any political party…in connection with any primary election.” As the OLC opinion says, § 600 “punishes those who promise federal employment or benefits as an enticement to or reward for future political activity, but does not prohibit rewards for past political activity.” Future political activity would arguably include dropping out of a contested primary in order to benefit the White House-endorsed candidate (here, Sen. Specter).

It does not matter that Sestak did not accept the offer or that the offer was, according to the White House memorandum, for an uncompensated federal appointment. The statute prohibits making such an offer in the first place. There is no requirement even for a tentative agreement. Like the crime of solicitation, the crime happens once the words trip off the mouth of the person making the offer.

Another federal statute, 18 U.S.C. § 595, prohibits any person employed in any administrative position by the United States “in connection with any activity which is financed…by the United States…us[ing] his official authority for the purpose of interfering with, or affecting, the nomination or the election of any candidate for the office of…member of the Senate.” Any administration position offered to Sestak would be financed by the United States, so Rahm Emanuel offering such an appointment through Bill Clinton to interfere with the Senate race in Pennsylvania would also constitute a possible violation of this statute.

These are not complex statutes. They are easy to understand and straightforward in their application. That’s probably why the White House has taken so long to answer these charges. But their answer, contrary to their claim, does not clear Rahm Emanuel.

With the White House admission that an offer of a federal appointment was made in order to interfere with a Senate primary election, there is more than sufficient evidence to justify the Justice Department opening a preliminary investigation. In fact, such an admission would prompt any responsible prosecutor to open at least a preliminary investigation, otherwise he would not be fulfilling his duty and obligation to enforce all federal laws.

The Justice Department has sent a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.) rejecting his request for a special counsel to investigate the allegation. But Justice’s letter gave no indication that the department has opened its own investigation. Normally, such an investigation would be conducted by the Public Integrity Section in the Criminal Division. Any recommendation to open an investigation would have to be approved by the political head of the Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer. Given Breuer’s political obligations and loyalty to the Obama Administration and Rahm Emanuel, he would seem to have a conflict of interest in making this decision.

Many will recall Rep. Pat Toomey’s challenge to then-Republican Sen. Arlen Specter in the 2004 primary. Specter was endorsed by President George Bush. If Pat Toomey had claimed that someone in the Bush Administration had offered him a position if he withdrew his primary challenge, the mainstream media would have howled with outrage. The press would have relentlessly demanded release of all information about the offer, including the identity of the White House “fixer” and whether the President knew about or approved the offer. And had the Bush Justice Department refused to open an investigation or appoint a special counsel, the Fourth Estate would have feasted on the scandal.

Justice’s refusal to appoint a special counsel or open its own investigation of the Sestak imbroglio, despite the clear evidence of a possible violation of federal law by a White House chief of staff and a former President, signals that the administration hopes to simply ignore this matter until it goes away. That could well happen if the press lets the matter slide.

If that’s how the sleazy Sestak saga ends, it will be another instance of 1) the administration letting politics, rather than justice, drive its law enforcement decisions and 2) the media applying a toothless double-standard in its coverage of the Obama Justice Department.

Hans A. von Spakovsky is a Senior Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a former Justice Department official. Charles �Cully� D. Stimson is a Senior Legal Fellow at Heritage, a former local, state, military and federal prosecutor and defense attorney, and former deputy assistant secretary of Defense.

Obama’s Definition of Change: More of the Same and Worse

By LIZ SIDOTI (AP)

WASHINGTON — So much for changing how Washington works.

Crimping his carefully crafted outsider image and undercutting a centerpiece of his 2008 campaign, President Barack Obama got caught playing the usual politics — dangling a job offer for a political favor in the hunt for power.

His lawyer admitted as much in a Friday report. It detailed how Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, sent former President Bill Clinton on a mission: try to persuade Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., to abandon his primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., by offering an executive branch post. Sestak said no, stayed in the race and beat the incumbent.

“I can assure the public that nothing improper took place,” Obama had told reporters at the White House on Thursday.

True or not, Obama has a political problem.

Because what did take place was backroom bargaining, political maneuvering and stonewalling, all of which run counter to the higher — perhaps impossibly high — bar Obama has set for himself and his White House to do things differently.

The White House’s reluctant acknowledgment of the chain of events shone a light on the unseemly, favor-trading side of politics — and at an inopportune time for Obama and Democrats as they seek to keep control of Congress.

This election year, angry voters have made clear they have little patience for politics generally and Washington politics specifically. And they are choosing candidates who promise to change the system — and ousting incumbents who fail to deliver.

But what may be even more troubling for the president is the question the episode raises: Has Obama become just like every other politician?

The answer could have implications for him ahead of congressional elections this fall and his likely re-election race in two years.

The White House tried to blunt the media maelstrom by releasing the report on the Friday before a long Memorial Day weekend, when fewer people are paying attention to the news.

White House counsel Robert Bauer said what transpired was neither illegal nor unethical.

But he also said: “There have been numerous reported instances in the past when prior administrations — both Democratic and Republicans and motivated by the same goals — discussed alternative paths to service for qualified individuals also considering campaigns for public office.”

Fair enough.

But Obama has held himself to a different standard. By that measurement, and in this case, he failed to deliver.

As a candidate, Obama cast himself as above partisan sniping and political maneuvering — even as he proved to be a shrewd politician able to broker deals. He promised voters turned off by politics and Washington — and yearning for change that this fresh-faced, political newcomer offered — that he would do things differently from his predecessors.

In Obama’s Washington, lobbyists would be banned from serving in his administration, the Democratic National Committee would be barred from accepting money from political action committees, White House visitor logs would be released and reams of information would be posted online.

As president, Obama has turned that vision into reality, albeit with some exceptions. He has trumpeted his goal of an open and transparent administration. He bristles at the notion that his White House is anything but. And in a frustrated tone, he routinely talks like an outsider doggedly working to change the ways of Washington.

But the Sestak incident undercuts all that — a point not lost on Obama’s GOP critics.

It all began when Specter, a veteran GOP senator facing a difficult Republican primary, chose to become a Democrat last year at the White House’s urging. Obama quickly endorsed him and pledged to campaign for him. The White House tried to clear the Democratic field for him.

But Sestak entered the Democratic primary anyway.

At one point during his campaign, he said that a job was offered but he provided no details. The White House deflected repeated questions about the claim, insisting officials did not behave inappropriately while also declining to elaborate.

It wasn’t until Sestak upset Specter in the Democratic primary May 18 that Republicans renewed their pressure on the administration to disclose what happened. Also, two top Democrats — party chief Tim Kaine and Dick Durbin of Illinois, the party’s second-ranking leader in the Senate — said the White House and Sestak needed to address the questions.

In the end, Bauer’s report said this: Emanuel enlisted Clinton’s help as a go-between with Sestak. Clinton agreed to raise the offer of a seat on a presidential advisory board or another executive board if Sestak remained in the House and dropped his bid, “which would avoid a divisive Senate primary.”

Sestak said Clinton called him last summer and raised the possibility, but “I said no.”

The White House hopes the report puts the matter to rest. Republicans will try to make sure it doesn’t.

EDITOR’S NOTE _ Liz Sidoti has covered national politics for The Associated Press since 2003.

PENN AG TOM CORBETT SHOULD EMPANEL GRAND JURY IN SESTAK AFFAIR

By Dick Morris and Judge Andrew Napolitano

With a Democratic Attorney General in Washington, a Democratic president, and both houses of Congress solidly in Democratic control, it is obviously futile to hope that the possible bribery of Joe Sestak to induce him to withdraw from the Senate race against Arlen Specter will be fully investigated. But, as the facts of this scandal grudgingly emerge from the White House and from Congressman Sestak, there is an alternative way to pursue justice.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General, Tom Corbett — who is the Republican nominee for Governor this year — has ample jurisdiction to convene a grand jury to get to the bottom of the scandal and answer the key questions:

1. Who offered a job to Sestak?

2. What job was proffered?

3. And did the president know of the offer?

Corbett’s jurisdiction stems from the concept of universal jurisdiction, now accepted virtually everywhere. The concept is simple. If someone on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River fires a pistol across the Hudson and the bullet from the pistol hits someone on the NY side, where did the crime take place? For about 600 years, the answer would have been in NY, where the harm was caused. Under the Reagan administration, and in response to urgings from the Meese Justice Department, the courts began to accept the doctrine of universal jurisdiction. This principle gives jurisdiction to law enforcement in the place wherever any act occurred that may have resulted in a crime. Thus, under our scenario above, the shooter could be prosecuted in NJ or NY.

Thus, if Cong. Sestak was in one of his homes, in PA or VA, when he received a telephone call offering him a job if he withdrew from the PA Senate primary against Sen. Arlen Specter, law enforcement authorities in PA and VA — both of which have Republican state Attorneys General — can subpoena Cong. Sestak to testify before a state grand jury and compel him to answer the who, what, when, and where that everyone has a right to know.

The people of the United States and, particularly the people of Pennsylvania, want these questions to be answered honestly. They will not settle for a Democratic stonewall that refuses to let the truth emerge.

Under our federal system, we need not tolerate giving one party the power to be the prosecutor, judge, defendant, defense attorney, and jury. We can open the process to checks and balances.

Corbett should make it possible for the truth to emerge by convening a grand jury and summoning Sestak, Emanuel, and anyone else who may have been involved to answer questions under oath.

Sestak was ineligible for job Clinton offered

By: Byron York

In a little-noticed passage Friday, the New York Times reported that Rep. Joe Sestak was not eligible for a place on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, the job he was reportedly offered by former President Bill Clinton. And indeed a look at the Board’s website reveals this restriction:

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.

As a sitting member of Congress, Sestak was not eligible for the job. And since the White House intended for Sestak to remain in his House seat, he would not have been eligible for the board after this November’s elections, provided he was re-elected to the House.

The statement from White House counsel Robert Bauer did not specifically mention the intelligence board, but speaking to reporters Friday, Sestak said of his conversation with Clinton, “At the time, I heard the words ‘presidential board,’ and that’s all I heard…I heard ‘presidential board,’ and I think it was intel.” In addition, the Times reported that “people briefed on the matter said one option was an appointment” to the intelligence board. But the White House could not legally have placed Sestak on the board.

Did the White House not know that? The apparent contradiction is sure to create more questions from Republicans who want an independent investigation of the affair. Why would the White House — normally pretty careful in such matters — offer Sestak a job he couldn’t take? Were there in fact other offers made to Sestak? So far, there has been little discussion of the fact that the Bauer statement said “options for executive branch service were raised with [Sestak].” The plural “options” certainly suggests that more than one job was presented to Sestak, but Sestak himself says his conversation with Clinton was very brief — less than one minute. Whatever the case, if the White House intended Bauer’s statement to put the Sestak issue to rest, it was probably mistaken.

Now We Know Why Clinton and Obama Had Lunch on Thursday

Rush Limbaugh

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT
RUSH: I guess now we know why, ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton had lunch yesterday. They had to get their stories straight. You know who this is, and you know what this is, so let’s go.

JOHNNY DONOVAN: And now, from sunny south Florida, it’s Open Line Friday!

RUSH: There is no major media figure like I who takes this great a career risk every week. On Friday when we go to the phones the content of this program is totally yours, unlike Monday through Thursday where you have to talk about things I care about — ’cause I don’t want to be bored because if I’m bored, the audience will be bored and nobody will listen. But on Friday, ever you want to talk about is fine, if I don’t care, I’m fake it. I’m pretty good at that. It’s a golden opportunity for you to discuss things you think haven’t been discussed or to pretend that you, too, are a real radio announcer. Telephone number if you want to be on the program, 800-282-2882, the e-mail address, ElRushbo@eibnet.com.

As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, hurricanes could be… (interruption) Yes! I’m going to get to Sestak in a minute. Just keep your pants on. “Hurricanes could be stronger than usual because black oil would heat water faster and accelerate formation.” So the hurricane geniuses are now revising their forecasts because of all the oil in the Gulf of Mexico. The theory is the oil is dark, it’s black. It gets hot faster than the water does, and if a hurricane comes along, I mean it’s over. Why don’t we all just commit suicide and be done with this? Let’s just be done with it. Every waking moment is a disaster waiting to happen. The Drive-By Media cannot wait for it.

Okay, now we know why Clinton and Obama had lunch yesterday. They had to get their stories straight on this Sestak business. It is… (laughing) Folks, this is just too rich. Isn’t it great? Here’s what happened. Apparently Rahm Emanuel went to Clinton and said, “Look, would you go talk to Sestak informally? See if he’s interested in taking a nonpaid — an unpaid job — high position job, unpaid here in the administration.” And Clinton, of course, said (impression), “Hey, Mr. President, whatever you want. You know, I said, ‘You’re going to have to kiss my ass’ back during the campaign if you wanted my support ’cause of the way you called me racist and so forth, the way you portrayed me and Hillary. Now you gotta come kiss my ass. So fine you’re kissing my ass.” I got the story right here. Clinton said that. Sit tight.

“I’m going to kiss your ass, you kiss my ass, and I will make sure that you are all right. You come groveling to me I’ll be happy to help you out here.” Now, look at what’s happened here. They go to Bill Clinton. He’s famous for getting people jobs. Monica Lewinsky offered a job at Revlon. She was offered a job at the United Nations. She didn’t take any of them. But they’ve got Bill Clinton. Isn’t it great, folks, that they’ve found a guy who they know will commit perjury to carry the water here? (chuckling) Snerdley… This is why the staff does not have microphones. People ask, “Why can’t we hear them speak to you?” (chuckling) Anyway, what better choice than Bill Clinton, a man who they know was willing to commit perjury in order to carry the water here.

Now, there’s some question over whether this is any big deal or not. The document dump on this coincides with The One’s arrival down in New Orleans. He’s going to spend three hours touring the disaster in Louisiana. His average golf game, according to the New York Times, is five hours. Last summer he went on vacation up to Martha’s Vineyard and he played on a course owned and operated bay good friend of mine, the Vineyard, and he spent five hours out there. The reason it takes five hours because he’s not any good, most of the time is spent in the woods looking for his errant shots. That’s in the New York Times! I’m not it up. Now, I went and looked at the law on this.
“18 U.S.C. § 211 : US Code – Section 211: Acceptance or Solicitation to Obtain Appointive Public Office — Whoever solicits or receives, either as a political contribution, or for personal emolument, any money or thing of value, in consideration of the promise of support or use of influence in obtaining for any person any appointive office or place under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both,” and it doesn’t say here anything about it has to be a paid position. “Whoever solicits…” In this case it would be Rahm Emanuel going through Der Schlick Meister. “Whoever solicits or receives,” that would be Sestak — and then, by the way, Clinton went to Sestak’s brother. That’s the circuitous route here.

“Whoever solicits or receives any thing of value in consideration of aiding a person to obtain employment under the United States either by referring his name to an executive department or agency of the United States or by requiring the payment of a fee because such person has secured such employment shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both. This section shall not apply to such services rendered by an employment agency,” I guess they’re going to say Clinton has one because Lewinsky has been a previous client “pursuant to the written request of an executive department or agency of the United States.”

So they’re trying to get around this by saying it’s not paid. You know, we’ve always thought “B.J.” meant one thing. No. It means “bribe jobs.” That’s apparently what it means. Lewinsky is what it is. B.J. means “bribe jobs.” There are two laws here, this one I just read to you. There two laws they appear to be violating but I doubt anybody’s going to press this, but clearly this is subject to the law. A lot of people have been saying this is a potential impeachment type of offense here. Now, I’ve heard some commentators inside the Beltway commentators “Oh-ho-ho! This no big deal. Why, this is just the way Washington works. It happens all the time. People are offered jobs for silence. People are offered jobs to give up their congressional seats all the time if they think they’re going to lose, fall on the sword. This happens all the time.”

Well, just because it happens all the time doesn’t make it right. Sestak, the onus has been on him because he belie the whistle on this. He’s the one that said he was offered a job. Well, who and what and how? So Clinton, Obama had lunch yesterday and the story is, “Well, Rahm Emanuel went to Clinton and Clinton sought Sestak out through his brother to see if Sestak was interested in a very influential and important unpaid federal job.” Now, we are left here to believe that that is what happened, t was totally innocent, and as I say: It looks like the lawyers are gonna claim that if the offer was for an unpaid position, it is of no value, and therefore not technically a bribe, because it all centers here on whether or not Sestak was being bribed by the administration to give up his campaign for the Senate seat in Pennsylvania. Now, if… (interruption) (laughing) Bribery for him?

Every time the Democrats break laws, we need to “reform the laws,” as though the law was the problem. The Democrats are just fine people. Even if the White House and Clinton are not lying about this (which is unlikely) it’s still a very tough argument to make, since a high position in the government has real value besides and beyond just monetary compensation. No matter how they slice it, it’s still a quid pro quo offer. So Fox News was first on this saying the White House counsel’s office going to say that Clinton offered Sestak a vague unpaid position or possible positions through Sestak’s brother. Buried way, way back in the New York Times on their website, the Caucus Blog: “White House Used Bill Clinton to Ask Sestak to Drop out of Race — Obama’s chief of staff” that would be Rahm Emanuel “used Clinton as an intermediary to see if Sestak would drop out of the Senate primary if given a prominent but unpaid advisory position.”

Now, a lot of you are probably wondering, “What do you mean, Rush, that you started out here with Clinton talking about kissing his rear end?” Here it is. This is the UK Telegraph back in June of 2008. It’s by Tim Shipman in Washington and Philip Sherwell in New York, and it’s June 28th, 2008. This is after Operation Chaos is over and the Democrat primaries are over. “Bill Clinton is so bitter about Barack Obama’s victory over his wife Hillary that he has told friends the Democratic nominee will have to beg for his wholehearted support. … The Telegraph has learned that the former president’s rage is still so great that even loyal allies are shocked by his patronising attitude to Mr Obama, and believe that he risks damaging his own reputation by his intransigence. A senior Democrat who worked for Mr Clinton has revealed that he recently told friends Mr Obama could ‘kiss my ass’ in return for his support.”

So here it is, UK Telegraph, the media. Clinton’s “lingering fury has shocked his friends. The Democrat told the Telegraph: ‘He’s been angry for a while. But everyone thought he would get over it. He hasn’t. I’ve spoken to a couple of people who he’s been in contact with and he is mad as hell. ‘He’s saying he’s not going to reach out, that Obama has to come to him. One person told me that Bill said Obama would have to quote kiss my ass close quote, if he wants his support.” Well, it appears that it happened yesterday. It appears that it happened. (laughing) Clinton finally got what he wanted. He was asked to bail Obama out of this, and has — has done so. So this has been a building. It’s been building to a crescendo here and people have been wondering, “Well, who did what to who?” because, you know, Sestak, the onus has been on him. He’s the one that revealed this had happened but he wouldn’t provide any details.

He was waiting for the White House to come out with the story, and now that they’ve come out with the story, Sestak’s not talking. You know, he’s going right along with it. But he was either one of two things. Either Sestak was lying when this all happened, or something far more serious was going on and that is that a bribe was offered. Now, it may be “the way the game is played in Washington” but Sestak blew it by going public with it. So now the lid’s off, everybody is looking into it, and it remains to be seen if this is going to be accepted and the end of the story. In the meantime, Sestak’s poll numbers in the Pennsylvania senatorial race are sort of leveling out. He’s run against Pat Toomey, as you know, who looks good.
BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Have you noticed the Democrats always throw their brothers under the bus when a controversy comes up? I mean look at the brothers of Democrats always get thrown to the wolves. Billy Carter got thrown to the wolves. Roger Clinton got thrown to the wolves. Hillary’s brothers got thrown to the wolves. Hugh Rodham was thrown to the wolves and now Sestak’s brother. It’s all Sestak’s brother’s fault! Do you know what the two most dangerous jobs in the world are? The two most dangerous jobs in the world are being number three at Al-Qaeda and being the brother of an American Democrat politician — and of course look at Obama’s brother! This guy, he’s still stuck in a hut. He’s still living in a six-by-nine-foot hut in Kenya. His brother is president and he hadn’t even sent the him a little sign “Home, Sweet Hut.” Living in a hut for crying out loud! Twenty dollars would change this guy’s life. No running water.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: We’ll start in Chicago with Susan. Glad you called, and welcome to the program.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. It’s a pleasure to talk with you and an honor.

RUSH: Thank you very much.

CALLER: I just think that this is absurd with this Sestak job offer. Nobody’s going to offer somebody a job with no compensation to give up a Senate race? That’s absurd.

RUSH: Well, but the Democrats understand they’ve got a sympathetic and supportive stenographer-like media to report this — and they have, of course, the august stature of Bill Clinton stand behind the veracity of this. I mean, what better guy could they have found to carry the story than a guy that has been willing to commit perjury before.

CALLER: Yeah.

RUSH: It’s made to order. So you’re not buying it.

CALLER: No, not at all. And another thing I wanted to bring up to you is I heard on late night radio that President Obama has a Connecticut-issued Social Security number that he supposedly got when he was 21 years old from a state that he never lived in.

RUSH: I seem to have heard that somewhere. I don’t know. I don’t know any of the details about that. In fact, I don’t know if that’s actually true. I haven’t looked into it, but I think I’ve heard that. But regardless, that’s way down on the list of things to be concerned about is where he has his Social Security card. I appreciate the call, Susan.
END TRANSCRIPT

White House Asked Bill Clinton to Urge Sestak to Drop Out of Senate Race

May 23: In this photo provided by CBS, Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., appears on CBS's "Face the Nation" in Washington (AP).

FOX NEWS

The White House asked former President Bill Clinton to talk to Rep. Joe Sestak about the possibility of obtaining a senior position in the Obama administration if he would drop out of the Democratic primary race against establishment-backed Sen. Arlen Specter, the Obama administration will say in a report to be released Friday morning, Fox News has confirmed.

The report, by the White House Counsel’s office, will describe the Clinton conversations as informal and unhinged from any precise job offer since, as a former president, Clinton could not guarantee Sestak anything.

The conversations with Sestak were initiated by Clinton at the behest of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel was Clinton’s political director when he was president. Clinton promoted Sestak to vice admiral and made his director of defense policy. Sestak was a loyal and tireless supporter of Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency in 2008.

The report will be released one day after President Obama said the White House would issue a formal explanation that should answer questions about Sestak’s allegation and insisted “nothing improper” happened. On the same day, Clinton had lunch with Obama.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has also said nothing improper happened, but refused to elaborate when asked repeatedly about the charge at Thursday’s briefing.

Sestak, who did not drop out and won the race against Specter last week, repeated his allegation in an interview on Sunday, but also declined to elaborate.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who has been leading the charge for more details on the allegation, said he hopes Obama’s pending response “will detail what conversations were had with Congressman Sestak.”

“If what the president said is true and nothing ‘improper’ took place, Adm. Sestak’s credibility will be called into significant question,” Issa said in a statement. “If the president’s response is insufficient or contradicted, the situation will only escalate.”

Fox News’ Major Garrett contributed to this report.

Obama dodges, but Sestak questions won’t go away

By: Byron York

How interested is Barack Obama in discussing Rep. Joe Sestak’s allegation that the White House offered him a big government job if he would not challenge Sen. Arlen Specter, the White House’s favored candidate in the Pennsylvania Senate primary?

Well, when the president was asked about it at his news conference Thursday — the question didn’t come up until the very last reporter was called on — the normally long-winded Obama spoke for a total of 32 seconds.

“I can assure the public that nothing improper took place,” Obama said, echoing earlier statements from White House officials who denied any wrongdoing. “There will be an official response shortly.” And that was that.

Obama’s brief answer brought a smile to Rep. Darrell Issa, who has been pursuing the Sestak issue in his role as ranking Republican on the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform. “That means the answer will be forthcoming after the lights go out for the weekend,” Issa said shortly after the news conference. “While the president is away and nobody’s available, a statement will come out.”

The way Issa sees it, the White House has to thread the needle when it finally responds to Sestak’s charges. A retired Navy admiral, Sestak is now the Democratic candidate for Senate from Pennsylvania, and the White House wants all the Democratic senators it can get. So they can’t come out and call Sestak a liar or a hack. On the other hand, they can’t admit that what Sestak is saying is true, because that would be, in the words of top White House adviser David Axelrod, a “serious breach of the law.”

So what can the White House do? “They can say we’re sorry, that the job offer was not intended to be a quid pro quo,” Issa says. “They can say that we offered a job to a person who was in the process of running for a Senate seat but who we felt he was better suited to be secretary of the Navy, and we never intended for it to be a quid pro quo but rather to fill our Cabinet with good people. That’s the only thread-the-needle that I see.”

It might thread the needle, but it won’t end the questions. Say it turns out, as everyone believes, that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was the official who talked to Sestak, and the job in question was secretary of the Navy. “Everybody is going to ask [Emanuel], Did you talk to the president about this?” Issa says. “What happened when [Sestak] turned you down? Did you believe he would get out of the race for this job? Did you talk to Arlen Specter about this? All those questions are inevitable.”

Inevitable that they’ll be asked, but not that they’ll be answered, or that the answers will satisfy critics. The matter at hand is a conversation that took place between Sestak and the White House. To determine whether any wrongdoing occurred, we have to learn both sides of the conversation. If the White House releases its side of the story, then we’ll have to hear from Sestak, who has so far refused to provide any details. Only then can investigators evaluate both versions of events.

Which is why on Wednesday all seven Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee — a group that included the moderate Sen. Orrin Hatch — wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder to ask that a special prosecutor be appointed to look into the Sestak matter. Citing Axelrod’s statements, the senators wrote, “We do not believe the Department of Justice can properly defer to White House lawyers to investigate a matter that could involve a ‘serious breach of the law.’ ”

Holder has already rejected a similar request from Issa. And no Democrats in the House or Senate support a Justice Department investigation, nor does the White House. With total one-party control of the government, a formal probe is highly unlikely. But some Democrats do want the issue to be resolved and have urged both sides to get the facts out.

The next move is up to the White House. Nobody expects a holiday-weekend news release to end the matter, but it will be the start of what could be a long process. “Everyone is going to have follow-up questions,” says Issa. “And I’m a patient man.”

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Obama-dodges_-but-Sestak-questions-won_t-go-away-95071799.html#ixzz0pEGKtBxt

Who’s behind the White House/Sestak firewall

By: Michelle Malkin

After three months of zipped lips and feigned ignorance, the Obama White House is finally taking real heat over Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak’s consistent claims that the administration offered him a job to drop his Senate bid. Now it’s time to redirect the spotlight where it belongs: on the top counsel behind the Washington stonewall, Bob “The Silencer” Bauer.

On Sunday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs glibly asserted that “lawyers in the White House and others have looked into conversations that were had with Congressman Sestak. And nothing inappropriate happened.” With whom were these conversations had? Gibbs won’t say. Neither will Attorney General Eric Holder, who dismissed “hypotheticals” when questioned about Sestak’s allegations last week on Capitol Hill by GOP Rep. Darrell Issa of California. Holder is simply taking his cue from the commander-in-chief’s personal lawyer and Democratic Party legal boss.

You see, on March 10, Issa also sent a letter to Bauer, the White House counsel to the president, requesting specifics: Did White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel contact Sestak? Did White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina (whom another Democrat, U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff, has accused of offering a cabinet position in exchange for his withdrawal)? How about the White House Office of Political Affairs? Any other individuals? What position(s) was/were offered in exchange for Sestak’s withdrawal? And what, if any, steps did Bauer take to investigate possible criminal activity?

Bauer’s answers? Zip. Nada. Zilch. While the veteran attorney ducked under a table with the president, Gibbs stalled publicly as long as he could — deferring inquiries about the allegations one week by claiming he had been “on the road” and had “not had a chance to delve into this,” and then admitting the next week that he had “not made any progress on that,” refusing the week after that to deny or admit the scheme, and then urging reporters to drop it because “whatever happened is in the past.”

But the laws governing such public corruption are still on the books. And unlike Gibbs, the U.S. code governing bribery, graft and conflicts of interest is rather straightforward: “Whoever solicits or receives … any … thing of value, in consideration of the promise of support or use of influence in obtaining for any person any appointive office or place under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”

Bauer is intimately familiar with electoral law, Barack Obama, ethics violations and government job-trading allegations. And he’s an old hand at keeping critics and inquisitors at bay.

A partner at the prestigious law firm Perkins Coie, Bauer served as counsel to the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Obama for America. He also served as legal counsel to the George Soros-funded 527 organization America Coming Together during the 2004 campaign. That get-out-the-vote outfit, helmed by Patrick Gaspard (the former Service Employees International Union heavy turned Obama domestic policy chief), employed convicted felons as canvassers and committed campaign finance violations that led to a $775,000 fine by the Federal Election Commission under Bauer’s watch.

As I’ve reported previously, it was Bauer who lobbied the Justice Department unsuccessfully in 2008 to pursue a criminal probe of American Issues Project (AIP), an independent group that sought to run an ad spotlighting Obama’s ties to Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. It was Bauer who attempted to sic the Justice Department on AIP funder Harold Simmons and who sought his prosecution for funding the ad. And it was Bauer who tried to bully television stations across the country to compel them to pull the spot. All on Obama’s behalf.

More significantly, Bauer has served as Obama’s personal attorney, navigating the corrupted waters of former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s pay-for-play scandals in Illinois. Bauer accompanied Obama to an interview with federal investigators in Chicago. And he’s got his hands full fighting Blago’s motion to subpoena Obama in the Senate-seat-for-sale trial — a subpoena that included references to a secret phone call between Obama and Blagojevich; an allegation that Emanuel floated his own suggested replacement for Obama’s seat; an allegation that Obama told a “certain labor union official” that he would support (now-White House senior adviser) Valerie Jarrett to fill his old seat; and a bombshell allegation that Obama might have lied about conversations with convicted briber and fraudster Tony Rezko.

With not one, not two, but three Democrats (Sestak, Romanoff and Blagojevich) all implicating the agent of Hope and Change in dirty backroom schemes, “Trust Us” ain’t gonna cut it. Neither will “Shut Up and Go Away.” What did Bob “The Silencer” Bauer know, when did he know it, and how long does the Most Transparent Administration Ever plan to play dodgeball with the public?

Examiner Columnist Michelle Malkin, author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies,” is nationally syndicated by Creators Syndicate.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Who_s-behind-the-White-House_Sestak-firewall-94920694.html#ixzz0p5AZdlHJ

Sestak White House scandal called ‘impeachable offense’

By Drew Zahn

Joe Sestak Back On Hill After Defeating Spector In PA Primary

If a Democratic member of Congress is to be believed, there’s someone in the Obama administration who has committed a crime – and if the president knew about it, analysts say it could be grounds for impeachment.

“This scandal could be enormous,” said Dick Morris, a former White house adviser to President Bill Clinton, on the Fox News Sean Hannity show last night. “It’s Valerie Plame only 10 times bigger, because it’s illegal and Joe Sestak is either lying or the White House committed a crime.

“Obviously, the offer of a significant job in the White House could not be made unless it was by Rahm Emanuel or cleared with Rahm Emanuel,” he said. If the job offer was high enough that it also had Obama’s apppoval, “that is a high crime and misdemeanor.”

“In other words, an impeachable offense?” Hannity asked.

“Absolutely,” said Morris.

The situation revolves around an oft-repeated statement by Rep. Sestak, D-Pa., that he had been offered a job by the Obama administration in exchange for a decision to drop out of a senatorial primary against longtime Obama supporter Sen. Arlen Specter.

Sestak said he refused the offer, continued in the primary, and defeated Specter for the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat.

But Karl Rove, longtime White House adviser to President George W. Bush, said the charge is explosive because of federal law.
Obama Hosts Award-Winning Small Business Owners In Rose Garden

“This is a pretty extraordinary charge: ‘They tried to bribe me out of the race by offering me a job,'” he said on Greta Van Susteran’s “On the Record” program. “Look, that’s a violation of the federal code: 18 USC 600 says that a federal official cannot promise employment, a job in the federal government, in return for a political act.

“Somebody violated the law. If Sestak is telling the truth, somebody violated the law,” Rove said. “Section 18 USC 211 says you cannot accept anything of value in return for hiring somebody. Well, arguably, providing a clear path to the nomination for a fellow Democrat is something of value.

He continued, citing a third law passage: “18 USC 595, which prohibits a federal official from interfering with the nomination or election for office. … ‘If you’ll get out, we’ll appoint you to a federal office,’ – that’s a violation of the law.”

Officials with Sestak’s congressional office did not respond to WND requests for comment, but the congressman repeatedly has given confirmation that he was offered the position and refused, but that any further comments would have to come from someone else.

“I’ve said all I’m going to say on the matter. … Others need to explain whatever their role might be,” Sestak said on CNN this week. “I have a personal accountability; I should have for my role in the matter, which I talked about. Beyond that, I’ll let others talk about their role.”

That’s not fulfilling his responsibilities, Rove said. He said Sestak needs to be forthcoming with the full story so “the American people can figure out whether or not he’s participating in a criminal cover-up along with federal officials.”

The Obama White House has tried to minimize the situation.

“Lawyers in the White House and others have looked into conversations that were had with Congressman Sestak, and nothing inappropriate happened,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has stated.

Gibbs told the White House press corps, “Whatever conversations have been had are not problematic.”

And on CBS’ “Face the Nation” he said, “I’m not going to get further into what the conversations were. People who looked into them assure me they weren’t inappropriate in any way.”

But the administration also is taking no chances on what might be discovered.

According to a report in Politico, the Justice Department has nixed a request from Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., for a special counsel to investigate and reveal the truth of the controversy.

The report said Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich confirmed no special counsel would be needed for the situation. But the report said Weich also gave no indication that the Justice Department actually was looking into the claims by Sestak.

“We assure you that the Department of Justice takes very seriously allegations of criminal conduct by public officials. All such matters are reviewed carefully by career prosecutors and law enforcement agents, and appropriate action, if warranted, is taken,” Weich wrote in the letter.

Issa had suggested that the alleged job offer may run afoul of federal bribery statutes.

He said in a statement to Politico, “The attorney general’s refusal to take action in the face of such felonious allegations undermines any claim to transparency and integrity that this administration asserts.”

“The bottom line is all fingers are being pointed back to the White House,” he said in a statement released as ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

“This Chicago-style politicking is an assault on our democracy and is downright criminal. President Obama faces a critical choice – he can either live up to his rhetoric of transparency and accountability by disclosing who inside his White House tried to manipulate an election by bribing a U.S. Congressman or he can allow his administration to continue this stonewalling and relinquish the mantle of change and transparency he is so fond of speaking on.”

Issa suggested, “Could the reason why Congressman Joe Sestak refuses to name names is because the very people who tried to bribe him are now his benefactors? For months, Sestak has repeatedly said without equivocation that the White House illegally offered him a federal job in exchange for dropping out of the race. Was Joe Sestak embellishing what really happened, or does he have first-hand knowledge of the White House breaking the law? If what he said is the truth, Joe Sestak has a moral imperative to come forward and expose who within the Obama Administration tried to bribe him.”

Michael Steele, the Republican National Committee chairman, as well as the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin of Illinois, have joined the chorus suggesting the White House needs to answer some questions.

Former judge Andrew Napolitano, an analyst for Fox News, said the level of the offer simply isn’t an issue.

“It wouldn’t matter if it was a job as a janitor. Offering him anything of value to get him to leave a political race is a felony, punishable by five years in jail,” he said.

The actual Section 600 statute states:

Whoever, directly or indirectly, promises any employment, position, compensation, contract, appointment, or other benefit, provided for or made possible in whole or in part by any Act of Congress, or any special consideration in obtaining any such benefit, to any person as consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity or for the support of or opposition to any candidate or any political party in connection with any general or special election to any political office, or in connection with any primary election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates for any political office, shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

Douglas Sosnik, the White House political director for Bill Clinton, said offering jobs to political friends is “business as usual,” but said Obama’s promise was that “business as usual” wouldn’t continue in his White House.

“It cuts against the Obama brand,” he told the New York Times.

Ron Kaufman, who served under the first President Bush, also told the newspaper such offers are not unusual.

“But here’s the difference – the times have changed and the ethics have changed and the scrutiny has changed. This is the kind of thing people across America are mad about,” Kaufman said.

WND previously reported on Sestak’s situation – as well as another that developed in Colorado.

The second situation was reported in the Denver Post about Andrew Romanoff, a Democrat state lawmaker.

It said, “Jim Messina, President Barack Obama’s deputy chief of staff and a storied fixer in the White House political shop, suggested a place for Romanoff might be found in the administration and offered specific suggestions.”

Romanoff at the time was challenging another major Obama supporter, Sen. Michael Bennet, for the Democratic primary for the Senate seat from Colorado. He has since won top-line position over Bennet in a coming primary.

The report said Romanoff turned down the overture, but that, “It is the kind of hardball tactics that have come to mark the White House’s willingness to shape key races across the country, in this case trying to remove a threat to a vulnerable senator by presenting his opponent a choice of silver or lead.”

The newspaper affirmed that “several top Colorado Democrats” described the situation, even though White House spokesman Adam Abrams said, “Mr. Romanoff was never offered a position within the administration.”

Gary Kreep, of the United States Justice Foundation, who has been monitoring the Obama administration, told WND that the offer of reward for some government official’s actions does raise questions of legal liability.

“There’s a federal statute and federal law seems to make clear if you offer a government official some sort of remuneration, directly or indirectly, it’s a crime,” he said.