Posted by Brian Montopoli, CBS News
Rep. Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Oversight committee, told CBS News Wednesday that he will call for a special prosecutor to investigate the White House if it does not address Rep. Joe Sestak’s claim that he was offered a federal job in exchange for dropping out of the Pennsylvania Senate primary.
“If the public doesn’t receive a satisfactory answer, the next step would be to call for a special prosecutor, which is well within the statute,” Issa (pictured) told Hotsheet.
The California Republican has been pushing for the White House to provide details of conversations between Sestak and administration officials in the wake of Sestak’s comment during a radio interview last month that he was offered a high-ranking administration job in exchange for dropping his primary challenge against Sen. Arlen Specter.
Asked if that job was secretary of the Navy, Sestak declined to comment. His press secretary told CBS News that the lawmaker stands by his original statement that he was offered the job in exchange for an administration post. Sestak did not drop out of the race.
On March 10th, Issa sent a letter to White House lawyer Robert Bauer asking for details about communications between Sestak and the White House. In the letter, he pointed to statutes he said could have been violated if Sestak was offered a quid pro quo arrangement in which he would be given an administration job in exchange for leaving the race.
Issa said the move may have violated anti-bribery provisions of the federal criminal code as well as prohibitions on government officials interfering in elections and using federal jobs for a political purpose. Violation of each provision is punishable by up to one year in jail.
The White House did not respond to Issa’s letter by its March 18 deadline. Reporters have asked White House press secretary Robert Gibbs about the inquiry on six occasions.
On February 23rd, Gibbs said he had not looked into the matter. On March 1st, he said he had not made any progress on it. On March 9th, he said he did not have an update with him. On March 11th, he said he did not have anything additional on the matter. On March 12th, he said he did not have any more information on it.
On March 16th, Gibbs finally addressed the situation.
To read more, visit: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20001105-503544.html
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