May 26th, 2010
03:29 PM ET
4 years ago

Seven GOP Senators demand Sestak investigation

The seven Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday demanding he appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations raised by Rep. Joe Sestak.
The seven Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday demanding he appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations raised by Rep. Joe Sestak.

Washington (CNN) - Congressional Republicans are turning up the heat on the White House about whether someone in the administration may have illegally offered a federal job to Rep. Joe Sestak, if the Pennsylvania Democrat would not challenge Sen. Arlen Specter's bid for re-election.

The seven Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday demanding he appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the allegations, which were first raised by Sestak several months ago.

"These allegations concern what could be a serious breach of the law," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, the ranking member on the committee. "There has been enough talk regarding this matter; it is time for a thorough and professional investigation."

Neither Sestak nor White House officials have revealed who from the administration spoke to the congressman nor what job might have been offered him. White House aide David Axelrod told CNN's JKUSA Monday the allegations "would constitute a serious breach of the law."

Read the full letter here [pdf]

However he said after the charges were made White House lawyers investigated and determined "the conversations were perfectly appropriate."

"A mere assurance from the White House counsel is plainly not conclusive," Sessions said. "It is time to get to the bottom of this."

"The allegations in the matters are very serious and, if true, suggest a possible violation of various federal criminal laws intended to safeguard our political process from the taint of bribes and political machine manipulation," stated the letter.

"The White House cannot possibly manage an internal investigation of potential criminal misconduct while simultaneously crafting a public narrative to rebut the claim that misconduct occurred," the letter stated.

In addition to Sessions, the letter was signed by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, and Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

A similar request for a special counsel, made by Rep. Darrel Issa, R-California, was turned down last week by the Department of Justice, according to Issa's office.

soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Shucks

    Those republicans, always holding out hope that they will find something in this administration that they can attack to and come up with hundreds of catch phrases.

    May 26, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. Shucks

    I still voted for Arlen as anyone who gives the GOP the finger gets my vote.

    May 26, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    These republicans are hell bent on finding something crooked about this administration. Better luck next time. Ooops!!! There won;t be a next time because there won't be enough republicans in Congress to matter.

    May 26, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. Sgt. USMC

    First off Sestak is an idiot.

    Second, just how do they plan on investigating this?

    The gop can't find better things to spend our money on.

    Send their butts to the gulf and have them start cleaning up.

    May 26, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. Wisconsinite - Conservatives want to take their country back. Progressives want to move their country forward.

    Sestak over stated what happened because he thought it sounded good. Have you ever listened to the guy talk??? The White House is giving him enough time to gracefully pull his foot out of his mouth because they want him to win the election, if he still can, but the full of himself dope won't do it!

    May 26, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  6. Obama the liar

    Eric-Gitmo is waiting for your arrival in less than 3 years. Rahm will be joining you ..peace.

    May 26, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  7. rachel

    Everyone saying Obama would know better, um lots of people know better but do stupid things anyway cause they think they can get away with it.

    May 26, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. stevegee

    ObamaGate begins ... What did the president know, and when did he know it?

    The arrogance of this administration knows no bounds - but they're not above the law. Now hopefully we can end this socialist nightmare through the impeachment process.

    May 26, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. silvertop

    "What was he thinking?" Sestak.
    1. He should know that what he said has serious implication and consequence. He is a lawmaker in the Assembly. If true, he has the duty to back up what he said and uphold the law.
    2. Did he just say it because he was mad because the WH and DNC backed Spector and not him? If not true, how could he even be a candidate for the senate? What comes to mind is that he is a navy man whose career conditions him to live by certain honor codes, not lying is one.
    3. Did he expect what he stated would be left alone and he would win the general election ( hard to think that he would be backed by the WH and party ) and sail into the senate without any repercussion
    from the WH?
    Perplexing.

    May 26, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. Viet. Vet

    If anyone thought the Repugs was going to let this die, they are delusional, typical repugs, as long as they can keep what amounts to nothing going in the public eyes ,they hope less scrunity will be on the family value hypocrites in the Repug party most of whom are facing election this year. A lot of hot air about nothing.

    May 26, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. tony

    What is wrong with offering a person a job so that he will not pursue another one? This happens in the private sector all the time. A company offers someone a promotion so that he will not go to a rival company. A school offers an associate professor full professorship so that he will not go to another university. In politics, this is called "clearing the field."

    From an article in Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2001:

    "Minnesota House Majority Leader Tim Pawlenty said Wednesday that he won't run for the U.S. Senate in 2002, but only because Vice President Dick Cheney called him on his cell phone earlier in the morning and urged him not to challenge St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman for the Republican nomination.

    On Tuesday night, White House political strategist Karl Rove called Pawlenty and urged him not to run. Pawlenty said he was still intending to begin an exploratory candidacy after the Rove call.

    But the request from Cheney, which came as Pawlenty was returning from a dentist's office with his daughters, was impossible to resist.

    At the White House, a spokesman for Bush confirmed that Cheney made the call, but he declined to elaborate."

    Should Cheney and Rove be impeached? Since presumably President Bush authorized the phone calls, should he be impeached?

    May 26, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. All the news that is fit to omit

    I'll write this slow again for you Oweblamo voters, IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO DO what Oweblamo did.

    But then again, you Oweblamo voters are OK with illegals in our country, we don't need no stinkin' laws.

    I can see November from my house and it is going to be a bloodbath.

    May 26, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. kf

    The Republican's are a big laugh. There are so many other priorities going on and they want a statement of Sestak's investigated. HA HA! Let us investigate what Cheney's meeting with the oil companies was about when he and Bush got into office. Open the books CNN, MSNBD, NY Times, USA Today and FOX.

    May 26, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. ajk68

    It's amazing how liberals think every lascivious thing done by a Republican should be reason for them leaving office, but if there is bribery going on in the White House it should just be left alone.

    I love a lot of the arguments on this comment site, "we should overlook this because look how bad Bush/Cheney was." This type of argument betrays any real concern for justice. If someone is concerned about justice, it shouldn't matter who is being investigated. As it is, the argument about Bush/Cheney evinces partisanship, not concern for justice.

    May 26, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. A.B.

    The Republicans are merely on a fishing expedition trying to provoke a scandal which they can then exploit for political gain. There is notthng to the situation where Joe Sestak was offered a job by someone in the Obama Administration. This is notthing new and has been done many times in past administrations of both Democrats and Republicans. First of all, we don't know how this offer was proffered to Sestak and the exact context in which statements were made. We don't know who made the offer to Sestak. Is asking a member of Congress to withdraw from a election campaign in exchange for a job in the Administration illegal? I don't know. But I know this: This Republican fishing expedition will lead nowhere.

    May 26, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  16. Independent

    Please, Ronald Reagan did it too....I suppose when a Republican does it, it is a whole different story....

    Session get a memo from Faux News????? It isn't a violation...Party of NO at it again...

    May 26, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  17. A.B.

    The Republicans are merely on a fishing expedition trying to provoke a scandal which they can then exploit for political gain. There is notthng to the situation where Joe Sestak was offered a job by someone in the Obama Administration. This is notthing new and has been done many times in past administrations of both Democrats and Republicans. First of all, we don't know how this offer was proffered to Sestak and the exact context in which statements were made. We don't know who made the offer to Sestak. Is asking a member of Congress to withdraw from a election campaign in exchange for a job in the Administration illegal? I don't know. But I know this: This Republican fishing expedition will lead nowhere.

    May 26, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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