Appearing on Denver talk show, Senate candidate moves Jobsgate story forward.
And in two simple, terse words, Colorado’s Andrew Romanoff told me today he would cooperate with a congressional investigation into Jobsgate headed by Congressman Darryl Issa. Or a Justice Department investigation if Attorney General Eric Holder’s highly politicized staff finally decided to investigate their White House bosses.
Romanoff made the statement live and on-air in an exclusive interview on Peter Boyles’ KHOW -Denver radio talk show Wednesday morning.
Romanoff had been avoiding Boyles for months. He had avoided me.
Engaged in a hot race for the Democratic Senate nomination with appointed Senator Michael Bennet, Romanoff’s name had surfaced early on in revelations that the Obama White House had on at least two occasions offered jobs to potential Senate candidates — if they would withdraw from challenges to incumbent Democratic Senators.
This is, according to any number of legal experts, a federal crime.
At the center of the story in the beginning was Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak, who has since defeated Obama-favorite Arlen Specter for the Democratic Senate nomination in Pennsylvania, ending Specter’s 30-year Senate career.
When first written about in this space back in February, days after Sestak had admitted in an interview with Philadelphia television anchor Larry Kane that he had in fact been offered a job in exchange for the favor of his withdrawal, the issue of “Jobsgate” arose immediately.
Kane had already checked with the White House on the issue. He played the Sestak tape — and received an outright denial. There had been no job offer, said the Obama White House. Period.
In this space we quickly explored the issue of a potential federal crime — and discovered a Denver Post story from September of 2009 alleging that a similar offer had been in play between the White House and Romanoff. The story said that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina had offered Romanoff a job at the U.S. Agency for International Development in return for his withdrawal from the race against Obama’s favorite — Senator Bennet.
With the fat in the fire, Mr. Romanoff chose to stonewall.
While Sestak repeatedly declined to reveal the truth in one interview after another, Romanoff simply declined to answer questions. Period.
Which is where Peter Boyles entered the story. Boyles had repeatedly tried to get Romanoff to appear on his Denver talk show, something Romanoff had done on occasion as a Colorado political activist and former Speaker of the Colorado State House. But that was before the Jobsgate issue arose. Now — no go. Romanoff was turning down Boyles repeatedly. Boyles had read my Jobsgate stories. He invited me to appear on his show and soon I was making multiple appearances as the story exploded into public view and kept going and going and going. Peter Boyles is a funny guy — but beneath that humor is a quite fearless willingness to dig into stories Colorado politicians and the Colorado powerful wish to ignore.
There were repeated denials and evasions from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs — now with White House correspondents from Fox News and ABC in the hunt for answers. Through all of this, Romanoff simply stiff-armed the media, including Boyles and myself. A call to Mr. Romanoff’s cell phone from me, with a message left, went unreturned.