Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Whew, what a relief!  David Axelrod has come out and said that the White House has "investigated" the Sestak bribery situation and found nothing of merit.  The DOJ has also weighed in, and have decided there is no reason to appoint a special prosecutor.  Stunning developments, no?

Since the White House investigated themselves, there's surely no reason to continue to demand answers.  Nothing to see here - move along, move along.  After all, there's no reason to doubt Axe's word, now is there?  It's not like these allegations are felonies that are impeachable offenses or anything.  Really, nothing says above board and transparent like a secret internal "investigation" by the people accused of the wrongdoing. Just ask Penn State.  

What is curious is Sestak's continued insistence that there was a bribe job offer.  He throws the allegation out there now and again seemingly to keep interest going, but refuses to clear up the issue.  That strikes me as interesting.  This is, after all, a man who has bucked his leadership in persisting with his story.  He could have simply said that he "misspoke" and that it wasn't so much a bribe to back out of the primary as it was a "redirection" of his talents.

It's hard to figure his stance on this.  Did he mention it for purely selfish reasons in an effort to show his opponent in a bad light - as in, not even the administration thinks Specter had a shot in hell of winning so they had to clear the field as much as possible?  Or is it that he is more of a moderate who is setting up the far-left administration for a fall, without wanting to get his hands too dirty and thus risk alienating his base?  The fact that he keeps commenting on the subject, instead of the standard "no comment" gives weight to the set-up theory.  The problem is, he isn't really a moderate - he's voted with the party on most of Obama/Pelosi's agenda so far. 

As puzzling as this whole situation is, don't expect any answers for quite a while.  Axelrod's coming out personally on damage control is pretty indicative that there will be no legitimate investigations into this situation until there is a party change in congress.  Axe is the official stone wall of the administration.  His stepping in is meant to give the impression that this is the last word on the issue. 

Meanwhile, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has been trying to get the DOJ to appoint a special prosecutor, but the DOJ just released their response - an unequivocal 'no'.  Is it any surprise that they feel that a special prosecutor and an investigation is "not necessary"?  Did Rep. Issa really believe they would check this out?  This is the same DOJ that dropped charges against Black Panther members for one of the most blatant (videotaped) cases of voter initimidation in recent history, after all.

The administration has circled the wagons on this one, and for good reason.  According to Title 18 U.S.C. § 595 : US Code - Section 595, any person employed in any administrative position by the United States, or by any department or agency thereof who:

uses his official authority for the purpose of interfering with, or affecting, the nomination or the election of any candidate for the office of President, Vice President, Presidential elector, Member of the Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, Delegate from the District of Columbia, or Resident Commissioner, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

This is a felony.  As a felony it is also an impeachable offense.  There is a reason why the DOJ is refusing to investigate.  For those who say some random low level administration official made the offer independent of the administration, take a moment to consider the job that many believe was offered.  It is a Cabinet level spot - Secretary of the Navy.  The only person authorized to give away those positions is the President.  Could it have been a rogue agent, like Rahm Emanuel or perhaps Axelrod himself?  Certainly, but the odds are good that their boss knew about the attempts, and quite possibly approved of them. 

Let's remember for a minute that Nixon faced impeachment because of his role in the cover-up, not the break-in itself.  This bribery scandal is far more aggregious, and it seems to have more direct ties to upper levels of the White House than Watergate did.  It has been ten weeks since the initial disclosure and there has been nothing but denial and stonewalling from the administration.  If there was truly nothing to the allegation, if Sestak was merely lying to make his opponent look weak and unsupported, why hasn't the administration attempted to prove that fact?  Maybe put pressure on Sestak to 'fess up by withholding election funds?  If, on the other hand, it's to save Sestak from looking like a liar and possibly losing an election, that means they are willing to risk throwing an entire administration, including the President himself, under the bus to save a senate seat.  That seems a little far fetched, doesn't it?

Since the DOJ has officially refused to investigate, the only other option right now it to try to persuade state attorney generals to investigate.  There may be a few takers on that one, if the number of AG's going after the health care bill is any indication, but don't be surprised if this has to be put on hold until the Republicans take the majority again.

Where is the modern day Woodward and Bernstein to blow this scandal wide open?  Oh, that's right - they probably voted for Obama just like the rest of the press corps.

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