Washington (CNN) – House Republicans are demanding the White House turn over internal documents related to its efforts last year to persuade Rep. Joe Sestak to stay out of a Democratic primary battle in Pennsylvania with Sen. Arlen Specter, in exchange for a government job.
Unhappy with the White House explanation of the matter, Reps. Darrell Issa of California and Lamar Smith of Texas, the top Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter Wednesday to White House Counsel Robert Bauer requesting "All records and documents created by or produced to the Office of the White House Counsel in the course of the investigation..."
Last Friday, Bauer released a memorandum revealing White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had enlisted the help of former President Bill Clinton to offer to Sestak an unpaid position on a Presidential advisory board. Bauer concluded "allegations of improper conduct rest on factual errors and lack a basis in the law."
Issa and Smith, in their letter, disagreed.
"Even if we suspend our disbelief that the White House asked a former U.S. President to call on a Member of Congress to offer a mere unpaid advisory position in exchange for dropping out of a Senate race, the facts alleged in the Sestak Memorandum still appear to violate several sections of the United States Code," wrote the Republican congressmen.
The White House memorandum, they said, "appears to catalog a violation of the federal criminal code, the tampering of evidence, witness tampering and evasion of the legal process."
The letter also asks for transcripts of interviews on the subject with Emanuel, Clinton, and Sestak and gives the White House until June 9 to turn over the material.
Since the Republicans are in the minority in both houses of Congress, they don't have the power to force the White House to turn over the documents requested.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs Tuesday told reporters who pressed for more information on the White House explanation, "I'd refer you to the memo."