California Rep. Darrell Issa, ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is asking questions about claims by Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) that the White House offered him an administration job not to challenge turncoat Sen. Arlen Specter in this year’s Pennsylvania Democratic primary. Jake Sherman of Politico reports:
[I]n a letter to White House general counsel Robert Bauer Wednesday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said that, if Sestak’s allegation is true, administration officials may have violated a federal statute which makes it a crime for a government employee to use his authority “for the purpose of interfering with, or affecting, the nomination or the election of any candidate” for certain offices, including Senate seats.
“While the White House may think this is politics as usual, what is spectacularly unusual is when a candidate – a U.S. congressman no less – freely acknowledges such a proposal,” Issa wrote. “Almost always candidates keep quiet about such deals, and for good reason – they are against the law.”
Issa posed a series of specific questions, among other things asking whether White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel or his deputy Jim Messina had talked to Sestak about the Senate campaign. As John Gizzi of Human Events reports, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs has repeatedly evaded questions about Sestak’s accusation.