Dems Stonewall Obama Bribery Investigation

Dems Stonewall Obama Bribery Investigation

June 25th, 2010

By Michael Riley, Denver Post

Obama and Sestak

House Republicans failed in a push Wednesday to force the release of White House documents related to potential job offers made to two Democratic Senate primary challengers, Andrew Romanoff in Colorado and Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania.

The Resolution of Inquiry failed on a party-line vote in the House Judiciary Committee, 15-12, leaving Republicans with a diminishing set of options as they try to force a wider investigation into White House efforts to entice Democratic challengers out of two key Senate races.

In the debate before the vote, Democrats insisted administration officials have already addressed the issues sufficiently and pointed to more pressing problems of concern to voters, including the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

But Republicans insisted there are still unanswered questions in both cases.

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Economic Cluelessness

Economic Cluelessness

Posted By Larry Elder On June 11, 2010 @ 12:20 am In FrontPage | 14 Comments

While in high school, I was standing at a bus stop next to a gas station. A kid tossed a candy wrapper on the station lot. Somebody yelled, “Hey, pick that up.” The kid, with a straight face, defended himself. He said, “I just created a job.” Someone would be hired, he explained, to pick up the trash, and this would be good for the economy.

Don’t laugh. The kid probably works for the Obama administration.

Congress is now considering yet another “stimulus” package. But did the administration’s previous one work? Of the $787 billion stimulus package, President Obama said it would “save or create” 3.5 million new jobs. Has it?

The National Association for Business Economics polled 68 private-sector members. Seventy-three percent said the employment at their companies was neither higher nor lower as a result of the stimulus package.

What about the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office? A February 2009 Washington Times article said:

“President Obama’s economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he were to do nothing, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

“CBO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing.”

What do normal, regular, real-world people think? In December 2009, a Rasmussen poll asked likely voters whether the “stimulus” helped, hurt or did nothing.

They agreed with the private-sector economists and the CBO — the stimulus did not work. And more felt it did damage than thought it helped: “A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 30 percent of voters nationwide believe the $787-billion economic stimulus plan has helped the economy. However, 38 percent believe that the stimulus plan has hurt the economy. This is the first time since the legislation passed that a plurality has held a negative view of its impact.”

Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and commentator Ed we-need-health-care-reform-and-I-don’t-care-how-much-it-costs Schultz think one way. Believers in the free market and limited government think another. As between these two camps, which one better understands how the real world works?

Zogby International asked questions about economics of nearly 5,000 people. George Mason University economist Dan Klein co-authored a report on the responses given to eight basic economic questions.

(Correct answers and “not sure” responses were ignored — only flatly incorrect responses were counted.) Do housing restrictions increase the price of housing? The answer is yes. Whether the restrictions are good or bad is a separate issue. But restrictions on any good increase the price of that good — whether houses or horseshoes. Do minimum wages increase unemployment? The answer is yes. Whether one accepts this as a worthy trade-off is a separate question. Is our standard of living higher than it was 30 years ago? It is. Whether we are “addicted” to oil or facing cataclysmic “global warming” is a separate issue. The other questions involved licensing, rent control, the definition of a monopoly, the definition of exploitation, and whether free trade leads to unemployment.

Respondents self-identified as progressive/very liberal, liberal, moderate, conservative, very conservative, or libertarian. Who did better?

“On every question,” wrote Klein, “the left did much worse. On the monopoly question, the portion of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly (31 percent) was more than twice that of conservatives (13 percent) and more than four times that of libertarians (7 percent). On the question about living standards, the portion of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly (61 percent) was more than four times that of conservatives (13 percent) and almost three times that of libertarians (21 percent).”

Maybe those with more education performed better? No, the report said. “We work with three levels of schooling: (1) high school or less; (2) some college (but not a degree); (3) a college degree or more. In our data, economic enlightenment is not correlated with going to college.”

The left blames the financial collapse on “greed,” ignoring the role played by government involvement — Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, the Federal Housing Administration, the Community Reinvestment Act and elsewhere. Leftists point to “insufficient regulation” on Wall Street for reckless behavior, rather than to the players’ assumption that too-big-to-fail would protect them.

On the BP Gulf oil spill, Obama wants to find “whose ass to kick.” He’s called for a moratorium on new offshore drilling. But why do we drill offshore for oil more than a mile deep? Is it that on-land and safer, shallow water areas are off-limits — thus pushing companies to extract oil from more dangerous places? Have the restrictions on clean nuclear power altered how and where we obtain energy?

Republicans, in the eight-question economics poll, averaged 1.61 incorrect answers. Democrats averaged 4.59 wrong answers. So in the President’s search for “ass to kick,” start here.

Larry Elder is a syndicated radio talk show host and best-selling author. His latest book, “What’s Race Got to Do with It?” is available now. To find out more about Larry Elder, visit his Web page at http://www.WeveGotACountryToSave.com.

Cited: ‘Prima facie’ evidence of White House violations

Cited: ‘Prima facie’ evidence of White House violations

June 11th, 2010

By Bob Unruh, WND

 Rahm and Obama most likely broke some law

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and one of his top aides, Jim Messina, have been referred to the government’s Office of Special Counsel for an investigation into whether they violated the Hatch Act by offering administration jobs to two political candidates in exchange for dropping out of their races.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, wrote in letters to William Reukauf, the acting U.S. special counsel, that the statements by the White House and the two candidates involved – Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., and former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff – are “prima facie” evidence of violations.

The act prohibits “the use of official authority or influence by federal employees for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election,” Issa’s letters dated yesterday – one referring Emanuel and one referring Messina – explained.

“In the White House’s June 3, 2010, public statement, Mr. [Robert] Gibbs claimed that clearing the field for a candidate preferred by the White House was not problematic because ‘there was no offer of a job.’ There is evidence to the contrary,” wrote Issa.

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GOP wants Justice probe of White House dealmaking

GOP wants Justice probe of White House dealmaking

By WILL LESTER   06/05/10 at 5:00 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rebuffed before, Republicans are renewing demands for a Justice Department investigation into White House dealmaking in two Senate races. The Obama administration says it’s broken no laws, but Republicans aren’t taking its word.

The GOP national chairman, Michael Steele, used his party’s weekly radio and Internet address to keep the political heat on the Democratic White House by urging appointment of a special investigator or independent counsel “who can sort out the facts.”

The White House has acknowledged discussing possible jobs with senatorial candidates Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania and Andrew Romanoff in Colorado — both of whom declined to step aside from challenging White-House backed incumbents. White House defenders have argued that it’s sometimes necessary to avoid messy primary fights.

Attorney General Eric Holder rejected requests from Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee and from California Rep. Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House oversight committee, into the first case that came into the news: Rep. Sestak’s claim that he was offered an administration job if he would drop his primary challenge against Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter.

The White House has acknowledged it turned to former President Bill Clinton to urge Sestak to stay in the House and accept an unpaid presidential advisory post rather than challenge Specter, a Republican-turned-Democrat. Sestak declined, and went on to beat Specter in the May 18 primary.

And this week, the White House disclosed that it had contacted Andrew Romanoff, a former Colorado House speaker, about possible administration jobs in hopes that he would not challenge Sen. Michael Bennet in the Aug. 10 Senate primary. Both the White House and Romanoff said there was no job offer, and Romanoff remains in the race.

“From day one of this current flap involving Congressman Joe Sestak and now Andrew Romanoff, the White House efforts to deny, obfuscate, and mislead have only served to raise suspicions even further,” Steele said.

Steele wants “an impartial referee” to get to the bottom of what the White House offered, who authorized it, who knew about it and “what was the expected trade-off for accepting the offer?”

He said President Barack Obama’s dealmaking falls far short of his promise to run the most open administration in history.

___

Online:

GOP weekly address: http://tinyurl.com/2utgceh

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/06/05/steele-doj-should-examine-white-house-dealmaking/print/#ixzz0q6Wf3QOG

Barack Obama, being from Chicago, knows there are two basic ways to play foul in politics. One is to break the law

Obama not above political manipulation after all

By CALVIN WOODWARD, Associated Press Writer Calvin Woodward, Associated Press Writer Sat Jun 5, 9:51 am ET

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama, being from Chicago, knows there are two basic ways to play foul in politics.

One is to break the law.

The other is to keep it legal, if shadily close to the line. It may not stink to high heaven, but it smells a little.

In the 2008 campaign and after, Obama said he’d tolerate neither as president, and he set the bar high.

How’s he doing now?

Well, it’s not all smelling like roses on the political front.

In a couple of known cases, his operatives tried to game the system ahead of Democratic congressional primaries, dangling job possibilities in front of challengers in hopes they would get out of the way of Obama’s preferred incumbents. (They didn’t.)

This appears to be mild stuff in the canon of political manipulation, the kind of puppeteering that leaders in both parties have done for generations.

For truly conniving, ego-driven, potty-mouthed machinations from the belly of the Chicago Democratic machine, tune in to the corruption trial just under way of Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor accused of scheming to profit from his ability to fill Obama’s old Senate seat.

Even so, dispensing favors for political ends was a specialty of the old ward bosses, not to mention some bare-knuckled presidents. Obama presented himself as above that sort of thing.

He staked a claim to purity on that front, said primaries belong to the people not the pols and decried even the subtle back-room tactics “that are within the lines of legality but still don’t fulfill the spirit of service.”

Such was Obama’s response a month before taking office, when Blagojevich’s troubles spilled into the open. Obama was fresh from a campaign whose most remarkable chapter came early on when he defeated Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

Back then, Obama was the Rep. Joe Sestak of the day, making things messy for the party establishment by challenging a respected and powerful figure favored for the nomination.

Now, though, Obama’s at the pinnacle of the established order and wants to keep things orderly as Democrats pick candidates for the fall elections, hoping to avoid the populist brush fires consuming the careers of some veteran Republicans.

To that end, the Obama White House sought to protect two senators against upstart Democratic challengers who were powered, like Obama once was against Clinton, by the audacity of hope.

In a Pennsylvania Senate primary contest, the White House dispatched former President Bill Clinton to try to get Sestak to stand down against longtime Sen. Arlen Specter, a Republican turned Democrat. Sestak’s prize: an unpaid presidential advisory position while keeping his seat in the House.

Sestak said he rejected the overture in less than a minute. He went on to defeat Specter.

Then late last week, it emerged that White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina had contacted former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff about possible administration jobs in hopes that Romanoff wouldn’t challenge Sen. Michael Bennet in the state’s Aug. 10 Senate primary.

Messina described three federal international development jobs that might be available to Romanoff if he got out of Bennet’s way. Like Sestak, Romanoff decided to stay in the race.

Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama was “not aware of the individual circumstances” of these attempts to protect the president’s preferred candidates. Gibbs said presidents “have long had an interest in ensuring that supporters didn’t run against each other in contested elections.”

Indeed they have, but this wasn’t supposed to be politics as usual.

During the campaign, Obama cited his Chicago political cred when he needed to prove his toughness against Clinton in their Democratic primary slog. Despite an iffy association or two, though, Obama never fell in with that crowd as an Illinois lawmaker and then U.S. senator.

His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel — a former congressman who says he wants to be Chicago mayor someday — was singled out by the national Republican Party chairman, Michael Steele, in the GOP’s weekly radio and Internet address Saturday.

If Emanual “has been offering government goodies to inconvenient politicians threatening Democratic incumbents, then it’s time for him to resign,” Steele said.

A Republican campaign ad that said Obama was “born of the corrupt Chicago political machine” rang hollow because he made his own way without the taint or nurturing of that storied apparatus.

In the Blagojevich case, so far so good for Obama. Federal wiretaps revealed a foul-mouthed Blagojevich complaining that Obama’s associates would not deal with him on the Senate selection. They were “not willing to give me anything except appreciation,” he steamed.

But much more light is bound to be shed on contacts between the former governor and Obama’s aides, through wiretaps and probably with the president’s associates dragged in as witnesses.

Democrats face the prospect of embarrassments trickling out as private conversations and usually hidden maneuverings become public from the courtroom.

On several fronts, then, it remains to be seen whether Obama can meet the promise to make politics and government a new model of propriety, where “you can get elected by playing it straight, you can get elected by doing the right thing,” and begone with the back door.

Job situation…

Job situation…

June 5th, 2010

Colorado Dem: Actually, the White House offered me three jobs to quit the primary

Colorado Dem: Actually, the White House offered me three jobs to quit the primary

posted at 9:34 pm on June 2, 2010 by Allahpundit

Not only does he name names — as the Denver Post originally reported, it was indeed deputy chief of staff Jim Messina who contacted him about dropping out — but he’s actually released Messina’s e-mail from last year describing the jobs they had in mind for him. The one key omission? Any acknowledgment by Romanoff that he himself lied to the Post when initially asked whether anyone had offered him a position.

U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff acknowledged tonight that he discussed three possible jobs with the deputy chief of staff of the Obama administration — all contingent upon a decision by Romanoff not to challenge U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.

Romanoff said none of the jobs was formally offered, but said the only reason they were discussed with Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina was if Romanoff stayed out of the Senate race.

“Mr. Messina also suggested three positions that might be available to me were I not pursuing the Senate race,” Romanoff wrote in a statement. “He added that he could not guarantee my appointment to any of these positions. At no time was I promised a job, nor did I request Mr. Messina’s assistance in obtaining one.”

Here’s the full text of Romanoff’s statement, together with the description of the available jobs. Is Messina guilty of a crime for having made this kinda sorta offer, even without any formal “promise”? Let’s see:

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 under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

I think we can get this one to the jury! Seriously, though, I don’t want Messina charged, partly because he was obviously acting at Rahm Emanuel’s behest (no deputy COS would be authorized to bribe a senate candidate on his own initiative, I assume) and partly because I’m sure this really is D.C. business as usual for both parties. The point of bringing up the statute again and again is simply to remind people that it’s the same sort of unrealistic “good government” aspiration that Captain Hopenchange used to such cynical effect during the campaign and which he’s now happily willing to violate in the most flagrant ways. Remember when he promised to put Congress’s health-care deliberations on C-SPAN? That was pure garbage aimed at idealistic young voters, which he duly abandoned as soon as he was elected save for that “health-care summit” dog-and-pony show earlier this year. Frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t include this angle in his campaign platform: “We won’t deny primary voters a choice with dirty deals!” sounds like precisely the sort of pap he was pushing at his nomination speech in front of the Temple of Zeus or whatever. Although, to be completely fair, I wonder in hindsight how many lefties really bought it or even cared whether he’d keep his “Change” promises or not. The point was to win an election and that mission was accomplished. Who cares if he’s turned out to be every inch the Chicago politician that he is?

As for the politics of Romanoff putting out this statement, I agree with Ben Smith: This sure looks like a middle finger towards the White House, aimed at casting his primary opponent, Michael Bennet, as the puppet of a very cynical political machine. No wonder Joe Sestak’s suddenly ducking joint appearances with The One.

White House ‘explanation’ suggests criminal ‘evasion’

White House ‘explanation’ suggests criminal ‘evasion’

June 3rd, 2010

By Bob Unruh, WorldNetDaily

 

Three members of Congress say the White House explanation of a “job offer” to Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., really didn’t explain very much, but it did suggest that on top of the apparently illegal attempt to convince Sestak to leave the Democratic senate primary in his state in return for a “job,” there were other crimes possibly involved.

“Rather than definitively resolve this matter, the memorandum had precisely the opposite effect: it appears to catalog a violation of the federal criminal code, the tampering of evidence, witness tampering and evasion of the legal process,” Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.; Lamar Smith, R-Texas; and James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said today in a letter to the White House.

The questions were raised because Sestak repeatedly and on the record has stated since February the White House had offered him a job in return for leaving the primary race against White House favorite Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa. Sestak refused and ultimately defeated Specter in the primary.

Last week, heading into the Memorial Day weekend, White House counsel Robert Bauer released a memo suggesting an explanation – that the job offer was from former President Clinton and it was only for an unpaid advisory post.

At the time, it was clear the words did nothing to remove critics’ doubts, and one commenter on the blog of conservative columnist Michelle Malkin may have touched a nerve when he wrote, “When you are telling the truth you do not have to prepare a response. The truth does not have to be manipulated. It does not have to be reviewed by attorneys. It does not have to be prepared. Calls don’t have to be made to get the story straight.”

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NYT: White House Used Bill Clinton to Ask Sestak to Drop Out of Race

NYT: White House Used Bill Clinton to Ask Sestak to Drop Out of Race

By Doug Powers  •  May 28, 2010 12:02 PM

**Written by guest-blogger Doug Powers

Bill Clinton met with President Obama yesterday — reportedly to discuss how to handle damage control from the oil spill in the Gulf — but it’s a good guess that a heaping helping of “getting our stories straight” was the featured item on the lunch menu:

President Obama’s chief of staff used former President Bill Clinton as an intermediary to see if Representative Joe Sestak would drop out of a Senate primary if given a prominent, but unpaid, advisory position, people briefed on the matter said Friday.

Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, asked Mr. Clinton to explore the possibilities last summer, according to the briefed individuals, who insisted on anonymity to discuss the politically charged situation. Mr. Sestak said no and went on to win last week’s Pennsylvania Democratic primary against Senator Arlen Specter.

“Did you get Joe Sestak a job yet, Daddy?”

It seems like a believable story — I mean, who wouldn’t be convinced to give up their quest to become a United States Senator in return for a spiffy, uncompensated job title in an administration that may well be swept out of office in just over two years — sooner if nobody buys their explanation for this?

If it’s that easy I’m going to call Nancy Pelosi and convince her not to run for re-election by offering her a job as an unpaid volunteer at her plastic surgeon’s office and give her the title “Queen of the World.”

According to the New York Times, one of the “jobs” being dangled in front of Sestak was a position on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board. One of duties of PIAB members is to bring to the president’s attention activities that are not being adequately addressed by the Attorney General — things like, oh I don’t know… the White House orchestrating a bribery to get somebody to drop out of a Senate race.

For those of you keeping score at home, “nothing improper took place” usually bats two or three spots in the lineup ahead of “mistakes were made.”

Rahm Emanuel couldn’t be reached for comment because he was in the middle of a dine-n-dash at an Israeli restaurant.

**Written by guest-blogger Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

The Sestak Stonewall

The Sestak Stonewall

Posted By Dick Morris On May 27, 2010 @ 12:01 am In FrontPage | 6 Comments

Rep. Joe Sestak [1], the winner of the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary, says quite openly and repeatedly that he was offered a job by the White House if he would drop out of the race against Sen. Arlen Specter. Having secured Specter’s conversion to the Democratic Party, thus giving the party a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, the Obama administration obviously sought to keep its word to Specter that it would do its utmost to deliver the Democratic nomination to him. According to Sestak, that included a job offer.

Who made the offer? What position was offered? And when did it happen? Sestak, who was nominated on a platform of “transparency” refuses to answer any of these questions. The White House [1] admits that a conversation took place but won’t provide any details and insists that an “internal investigation” revealed that “nothing inappropriate” took place.

Or did it?

It is unlikely that Sestak was offered a job interviewing people for the census. Only a high-level job offer — a Cabinet post or an ambassadorship to a key country — would have sufficient gravitas to conceivably induce him to drop his primary challenge. Some have speculated that Sestak, a retired admiral, might have been offered the post of secretary of the navy. Others wonder that, since he is fluent in Russian, he was to be tapped for ambassador to Moscow.

And, before an offer of that magnitude were tendered, it would have had to have been cleared with the higher levels of the White House [1]. How could an offer of a Cabinet post have been made without consultation with the chief of staff?

And how was the offer made? It would have to have been proffered by somebody who Sestak could reasonably assume was speaking for the president and could deliver on his end of the deal. A lower-level official wouldn’t have that kind of clout.

Could the offer have been tendered by Rahm Emanuel [1] himself? It’s clearly his style.

But, could Rahm or anyone else have made such an offer without consulting the president himself? You can’t go around passing out Cabinet posts or ambassadorships without consulting the boss. Whatever position of that level the White House dangled in front of him, it would have to have been approved by the president.

And Sestak must have probed the person who conveyed the offer to ascertain its bona fides. He would reasonably have asked, “Did you clear this with the president?” Otherwise, why would he even consider such an offer?

The White House and Sestak are stonewalling questions from the media, and obviously, a Democratic controlled Congress is not about to go poking around asking about the proposed deal.

So how could the Republicans break it open?

The weak link here is Sestak himself, who claims that he embraces “transparency.” Fueled by his primary victory and the momentum it generated, Rasmussen has him four points ahead of Pat Toomey [1], the GOP candidate. This lead won’t hold up for long in the face of a refusal to respond to questions the public is entitled to have answered.

Toomey or the Republican Party or other independent expenditure groups should run ads throughout Pennsylvania asking these basic questions. They should tell Sestak that he ran on a platform of transparency and that its time to reveal who offered what and when.

Either Sestak is lying and there was never an offer, or the White House has skirted very close to having committed a crime or may have stepped over the edge. And, considering the stakes and the nature of what the offer would have had to have been, this scandal could reach very high indeed.

Is it a high crime and misdemeanor to offer someone something of value in return for withdrawing from a U.S. Senate race? We may be about to find out.