June 2nd, 2010
04:12 PM ET
4 years ago

Republicans demand White House docs on Sestak

House Republicans are demanding more information from the White House regarding its efforts to dissuade Joe Sestak from running in a Democratic primary Senate race.
House Republicans are demanding more information from the White House regarding its efforts to dissuade Joe Sestak from running in a Democratic primary Senate race.

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.
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Filed under: House Republicans • Joe Sestak
June 1st, 2010
07:07 PM ET
4 years ago

Gibbs declines to give more Sestak details

Robert Gibbs declined to name what position was offered to Rep. Joe Sestak in an effort to dissuade him from challenging Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Senate primary.
Robert Gibbs declined to name what position was offered to Rep. Joe Sestak in an effort to dissuade him from challenging Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Senate primary.

(CNN) – White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs declined Tuesday to name what position was offered to Pennsylvania Rep. Rep. Joe Sestak last year in an effort to dissuade him from launching a primary challenge against incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter.

But Gibbs, whose comments come four days after the White House counsel's office released a memo stating no laws were broken during the communication with Sestak, suggested the position "didn't constitute a lot of what you're hearing."

According to the memo released Friday and authored by White House Counsel Bob Bauer, administration officials asked former President Bill Clinton to discuss with Sestak the possibility of serving on a high-level "Presidential or other Senior Executive Advisory Board" instead of challenging Specter. Bauer also made clear the position would have been unpaid.

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Filed under: Joe Sestak • Robert Gibbs
May 28th, 2010
03:03 PM ET
4 years ago

Steele keeps heat on White House, Sestak

Republicans are making clear they plan to keep the heat on Rep. Joe Sestak and the White House.
Republicans are making clear they plan to keep the heat on Rep. Joe Sestak and the White House.

(CNN) - Republicans are making clear they plan to keep the heat on Rep. Joe Sestak and the White House, following confirmation former President Bill Clinton was asked to offer the Pennsylvania Senate candidate an unpaid position in the Obama administration if he dropped his bid against Sen. Arlen Specter.

In a statement released Friday, RNC Chairman Michael Steele said the White House Counsel's report on the matter - in which it concludes no laws were broken - only "raises more questions."

"In the three months since Joe Sestak first made his allegation the White House has denied, stonewalled and is now trying to downplay the claims with an unsubstantiated memo," said Steele. "This memo frankly raises more questions: What was Bill Clinton authorized to offer? Did President Obama sign off on this conversation before it took place? Now more than ever it is clear that this White House is not capable of policing itself and needs to open itself to an independent investigation."

Full statement after the jump

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Filed under: Joe Sestak • Michael Steele
May 28th, 2010
01:05 PM ET
4 years ago

Sestak confirms White House account

Sestak released a statement Friday.
Sestak released a statement Friday.

(CNN) – Rep. Joe Sestak is confirming the statements in theĀ  White House memo released Friday morning, saying former President Bill Clinton reached out to him about a potential unpaid position in the Obama administration:

"Last summer, I received a phone call from President Clinton. During the course of the conversation, he expressed concern over my prospects if I were to enter the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and the value of having me stay in the House of Representatives because of my military background," Sestak said in a statement. "He said that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had spoken with him about my being on a Presidential Board while remaining in the House of Representatives."

Full Sestak statement after the jump:

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Filed under: Joe Sestak
May 28th, 2010
11:29 AM ET
4 years ago

Clinton acted as White House intermediary on Sestak offer

Former President Bill Clinton called Joe Sestak on the White House's behalf.
Former President Bill Clinton called Joe Sestak on the White House's behalf.

(CNN) - Administration officials engaged in no improper conduct as part of alleged efforts to dissuade Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak from launching a primary challenge against Sen. Arlen Specter, White House Legal Counsel Robert Bauer asserted Friday in publicly-released memorandum.

According to Bauer, Sestak was offered a high-level but unpaid position. Sestak turned the offer down, and ended up scoring an upset victory over Specter in last week's Pennsylvania primary. The White House was instrumental in last year's switch by Specter from the GOP to the Democratic party. It backed him in his bid for a sixth term in the Senate, and was eager to clear the field of any primary opponents.

"I'll have something for you later," Sestak told CNN Friday, as he walked to the House chamber for a vote.

A White House source also told CNN's John King, "Bill Clinton did talk to Sestak at the urging of Rahm, to discuss executive branch service based on the assumption he would stay in the House."

Thursday, in a press conference that largely focused on the BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast, President Barack Obama refuted allegations of impropriety surrounding reports that his administration offered Sestak a position if he would drop his Pennsylvania senate bid.

"I can assure the public that nothing improper took place," the President said toward the end of his hour-long news conference.

But Obama refused to give any more details, even as several Republicans and a handful of Democrats have demanded the White House be more forthcoming on the matter.

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May 27th, 2010
06:25 PM ET
5 years ago

President Obama shares little about Sestak job speculation

President Obama refuted allegations of impropriety surrounding reports that his administration offered Rep. Joe Sestak a job in exchange for dropping his Pennsylvania senate bid.
President Obama refuted allegations of impropriety surrounding reports that his administration offered Rep. Joe Sestak a job in exchange for dropping his Pennsylvania senate bid.

(CNN) – Amid a press conference that largely focused on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama refuted allegations of impropriety surrounding reports that his administration offered Rep. Joe Sestak a position several months ago if he would drop his Pennsylvania Senate bid.

"I can assure the public that nothing improper took place," the President said, at the end of his hour-long press conference.

But Obama refused to give any more details on the alleged offer, even as several Republicans and a handful of Democrats have demanded the White House be more upfront on the matter.

(Updated with Sestak comments after the jump.)

"There will be an official response shortly on the Sestak issue, which I hope will answer your questions," Obama said when asked about the issue at the end of an hour press conference. "You will get it from my administration. And it will be coming out, when I say shortly, I mean shortly. I don't mean weeks or months."

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Filed under: 2010 • Joe Sestak • Popular Posts • President Obama
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."

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May 25th, 2010
06:03 PM ET
5 years ago

Sestak dodges questions on alleged White House offer

(CNN) - Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate Joe Sestak won an ovation at the weekly Senate Democratic lunch in the Capitol Tuesday, even as questions swirled about his allegation that the White House offered him a job several months ago if he would agree to stay out of a primary battle against incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter.

"I've already answered the questions," Sestak told CNN as he was standing outside the lunch waiting to be introduced. "I have nothing else to say about the matter."

Sestak made similar comments to CNN's John King Monday.

Sestak's refusal to elaborate came as the No. 2 Senate Democrat, close White House ally Dick Durbin of Illinois, called on him to "make it clear what happened."

"Congressman Sestak raised the issue,' Durbin said. "If there's been some confusion, I hope he can make the facts as clear as possible. Then, as far as the administration is concerned, they will react to it."

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Filed under: Joe Sestak
May 25th, 2010
01:26 PM ET
5 years ago

Durbin: Sestak must come clean about job offer

 Sen. Dick Durbin said Tuesday that Rep. Joe Sestak should fully explain whether Obama administration officials pressed him to drop his Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter in exchange for a job.
Sen. Dick Durbin said Tuesday that Rep. Joe Sestak should fully explain whether Obama administration officials pressed him to drop his Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter in exchange for a job.

Washington (CNN) - The number two Democrat in the Senate, who has close ties to the White House, is urging Rep. Joe Sestak to come clean.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin told CNN Tuesday that the Pennsylvania Democrat should fully explain whether Obama administration officials pressed him to drop his Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter in exchange for a job.

Related: CNN's John King on Sestak, the WH

"At some point I thing Congressman Sestak needs to make it clear what happened," Durbin told CNN. Sestak has refused to reveal whom he spoke with at the White House about a job offer.

Sestak made the claim in February when he was still trailing Specter, who had the backing of the White House, in the polls. Sestak captured the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nomination last week.

Aides to President Obama have acknowledged that conservations took place between White House aides and Sestak during the campaign, but said nothing improper took place. Still, administration officials have also refused to divulge who talked to Sestak.

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Filed under: Arlen Specter • Dick Durbin • Joe Sestak • Obama administration
May 25th, 2010
11:45 AM ET
5 years ago

CNN Radio Political Notebook: The WH's job offer to Joe Sestak

ALT TEXT

Congressman Sestak and the White House are both providing few details about a job offer made before the recent Pennsylvania Senate Democratic primary. (Photo Credit: Getty Image/File)

CNN Chief National Correspondent John King talks to CNN Radio about the White House's offer to Sestak and explains why it's important to learn more.

Listen: John King on the White House and Joe Sestak

Subscribe to the CNN Political Notebook podcast on iTunes

Related: Sestak, WH dodge questions about job offer


Filed under: 2010 • JKUSA • Joe Sestak • John King USA • Obama administration • Pennsylvania
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