May 26th, 2010
03:29 PM ET
5 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. valjon

    GOP shut up! Who cares,,the really coruption is MMS and Cheney. People livelyhoods are being destoryed in the gulf and all you idiots think about is taking down President..This practice is normal in your party too..The country doesn't need made up scandal,we have bigger things to worry about..

    May 26, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. 8 years of the Bush Error = How many years of recession and unemployment?

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

    How soon the cons forget Mr. "I do not recall" Gonzales, we were assured there was nothing wrong by him.

    Hypocrites.

    May 26, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. Bedtime for Obonzo

    For all of you apologists who think that Sestak's admission is not a big deal, here's the text of the federal statutue, 18 USC 600:

    " 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."

    May 26, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  4. All the news that is fit to omit

    Before you gutless and stupid as all bleep Oweblamo voters start. IT IS AGAINST THE LAW to offer someone a JOB to get out of any political race and that is what the Democrat Sestak is saying your lying fraud of a president did.

    This has nothing to do with Palin, Bush or Halliburton, just your heroes.

    Gibbs has been asked about this for 3 months by some Republicans (Issa) and they have been stonewalled.

    The truth NEEDS to come out or is the gutless fraud Oweblamo just going to throw Sestak under the bus (there is a collection under there now).....

    Do any of you have the fortitude to answer with any facts or are you going to have to use the race card, Bush, Palin or Halliburton as I suspect?

    May 26, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. Dano

    I'm not familiar with the law but I thought the President could appoint anyone he chooses to his staff. It might be a bit hard to prove that Mr. Sestak was offered the job in exchange for dropping out of the election though.

    May 26, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. Ethan

    Republicans are ONLY interested in b.s. politics like this. But when it comes to creating JOBS or improving the ECONOMY? Where are they then?

    It is SO TRANSPARENTLY OBVIOUS that Republicans are ONLY concerned about THEIR jobs and THEIR money and THEIR corporate cronies.

    The thing that gets me is that they JUST DON'T CARE if the entire world knows this. They'll lie, cheat and steal for money or power regardless what America thinks of them. Sad, really.

    May 26, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  7. jp,michigan

    Why would any one take the word of the White House counsel, and not re=check what was actually said and offered? The "Chicago" White House came from a City where play and pay was the norm. Promises of jobs to get what one wants is the norm. Look at the history of Obama in the Illinois legislation, his mentor there made sure he was given the best opportunities and I wonder what that mentor got!

    May 26, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. annie s

    Here we go again. Republicans – who spent the entire Clinton administration wasting our taxpayer dollars investigating him for everything – including murder- have been chomping at the bit waiting for Mr. Obama to give them something to get their dirty little hands on. IF someone in the Obama administration offered a job to Sestak, excuse me for saying so what? Unless there was coercion, which Mr. Sestak is certainly not claiming, it is NOT illegal.

    May 26, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. Pragmatic

    if the republican invested the same amount of time and energy in trying to move the country forward .... instead of looking for little blue dresses – we all would be much better off .... what? No jobs to create? No banks to reform? No health care bill to repeal?

    May 26, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. Edna

    Repubicans have nothing to do but try to find something illegal in President Obama's administration. How many times did George Bush and Dick Cheney break the law? And they are still walking the streets!!! Why don't the Republicans do something constructive for the American people and stop wasting our time? They are such a joke.

    May 26, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. Not Republican

    First of all, you know Obama wouldn't be this foolish.. the head of Harvard Law Review would know better (bank on it). There may have been an underling in the Adminisration who is that stupid.. find him or her and fire them! It's a distraction that is meaningless.

    Apparently Sestak is quite self-serving, what a disappointment. He's an idiot... Even if he's telling the truth and a law has been broken, he's apparently taken a chapter from Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue".
    I hope he drops out and let's us have a chance in November.

    May 26, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. David

    funny how every thing to the GOP is a conspiracy. maybe the GOP was behind JFK's assassination, that is why the records had to be sealed for so long, because the truth would tear this country apart, just like the GOP are trying now to do.

    May 26, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. Independent One

    Don't these stupid GOP Politicians GET IT.....We're tired of politics there is toooooo much going on in our country to worry about this stupid stuff

    May 26, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    They'll just keep floating the accusation no matter what happens. If Holder appoints a special prosecutor who investigates and comes up with nothing...voila, the new accusations are suddenly that he and Obama appointed a biased special prosecutor who acted as their puppet.

    THE ACCUSATION IS THE CONVICTION. This is one of the fundamental rules of American politcal media manipulation at this point. It does NOT matter what Holder does or Obama does in response to this. In fact, it is probably the better course to just say no to them, because they will trumpet any cooperation with their demands as an admission of guilt , which of course is more irony that the GOP would be obliviously creating...asking for an investigation and then pretending the investigation, if given, is the proof.

    May 26, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. Karl in SLC

    OK, here's a deal.

    Go ahead and investigate, conduct your Clintonesque witchhunt wasting millions of taxpayer dollars AGAIN.

    and

    We'll send Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Yoo, Gonzalez, Ashcroft, Rice, Powell, Bybee, Bolton, Rove, et al to The Hague for prosecution on war crimes.

    Man, republicans have lost their minds.

    May 26, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. Capt. Snarky

    Isn't it ironic that Holder will "investigate" Arizona's new immigration law (even though it closely mirrors Federal law on the subject , WITH greater safeguards against profiling) – yet won't investigate a BRIBE allegation invovling his own boss. Guess he know which side the toast is buttered, eh?

    This from the "transparent, ethical" adminstration. I say they are cut from the same cloth as GW's, only showing the opposite side ...........

    May 26, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    Oh, and BTW...read between the lines: these are the GOPers on the Judiciary Committee who will be instrumental in the Kagan hearings.

    May 26, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If that were to happen, then all previous administration should be investigated as well. How many people were promised jobs if they did or didn't do something - that could cover all the previous administrations. How forcefully could they enforce that?

    May 26, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  19. obama victim

    it would seem the White House would welcome an investigation to put this story to rest...........wonder why they are aginst it??????

    May 26, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. jm for sc

    They will not find anything wrong. First of all, I think Sestak over-stated his comments regarding the offer.

    May 26, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. Dan, TX

    I hope Sessions and the republicans devote a lot of time and money checking to see if the law was broken. What a waste of time. Even if there was a job offer how are you going to prove that Sestak was asked to take a position because they wanted him to get out of the race rather than because they thought he was the best person for the job?

    No one cares expect politicians trying to score points.

    May 26, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. GI Joe

    Hey – they found something else to keep them not working for US. A change from NO NO NO NO NO

    Why don't they demand war crimes investigations for Bush/Cheney? That could keep them busy too.

    May 26, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. Geoz

    I'm sure they do demand it. I'm sure they do.

    May 26, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  24. ib

    The full story on this needs to come out especially since it was used in his campaign. No excuses; tell what really went down.

    May 26, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  25. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    These GOP senators continue to march lock step under the direction of Fox.

    May 26, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
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