A theory that the White House is telling the truth—Obama did make Sestak a meaningless offer, because he didn’t care whether Sestak accepted it
Paul of Powerline, who is an attorney, says he’s not that stirred up by the Sestak affair. He reminds us that “Offering a politician one post in exchange for his forbearance from seeking another is as American as apple pie”—historically. But there is now a federal statute that makes such an offer a crime. He points out that the statute includes “appointments”—which could mean an unpaid position—among the things which may not be offered in exchange for political activity, and says that if the White House story is true, “it’s possible that someone in the White House, perhaps Rahm Emanuel, violated the statute. If so, a fine and resignation are in order.”
But the bigger danger for the administration will arise if its version of the facts turns out to be false and, especially, if the White House is found to have engaged in some form of witness tampering as it put this story together.
To sum up Paul’s theory: (1) The White House did make Sestak an offer of an unpaid advisory post, which may have been a violation of law (though I would add that it seems unlikely that a quid pro quo involving an unpaid advisory post would be prosecuted by anyone). They didn’t care if the offer wasn’t attractive to Sestak, because they were only going through the motions of trying to get Sestak to withdraw in order to keep their promise to Specter to help him in his re-election. They didn’t like Specter and wouldn’t mind if Sestak beat him. (2) Sestak for months talked up and exaggerated the offer, misleading the public in order to make himself look heroic. That’s why he said, “No comment,” when asked if the White House had promised to make him Secretary of the Navy. He wanted people to believe that he had been offered that high post and that he had refused it.
Neil P. writes:
Would Bill Clinton agree to be dispatched to make someone an offer for an upaid post? I suspect that advisory board was promised for deniability purposes, with an implicit promise of a more serious position (such as secretary of navy) when it became available.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 29, 2010 12:25 PM | Send