We’ve been fooled: the White House memorandum does NOT say that a paid job was not offered to Sestak

Here’s a passage from the brief statement by White House counsel Robert Bauer concerning the administration’s offer of a federal position to Rep. Joseph Sestak in exchange for his not running against Arlen Specter for the U.S. Senate. The memorandum was released on Friday to the amazement and disbelief of the political world, or rather of the non-MSM parts of it:

We found that, as the Congressman has publicly and accurately stated, options for Executive Branch service were raised with him. Efforts were made in June and July of 2009 to determine whether Congressman Sestak would be interested in service on a Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board, which would avoid a divisive Senate primary, allow him to retain his seat in the House, and provide him with an opportunity for additional service to the public in a high-level advisory capacity for which he was highly qualified. The advisory positions discussed with Congressman Sestak, while important to the work of the Administration, would have been uncompensated.

As Charles Krauthammer points out on Fox News, Bauer’s statement says that “options for Executive Branch service” were aired. It does not say that these options were only unpaid positions. The remainder of the paragraph then speaks of unpaid advisory positions being discussed, creating the impression, but not actually saying, that the previously mentioned “options” were only unpaid advisory positions. Such artful language clearly suggests that paid positions were also offered, and that the White House is trying to conceal that fact. If this were not the case, the document would have stated unambiguously, “No paid positions were ever discussed.” But it does not say that.

Krauthammer then points out that the White House has spoken of “a” phone call from former president Clinton to Sestak. But the memorandum says that “Efforts were made in June and July of 2009” to interest Sestak in an appointed position. To which Krauthammer retorts: “I’ve never heard of a phone call that lasted two months.” He says that the White House must be asked, who were the other people who contacted Sestak in that period and what offers did they make to him?

The White House’s official story—which the major liberal media instantly accepted at face value—is thus an obvious cover-up. And thanks to Krauthammer’s actually reading the document (which to my embarrassment I did not do until now but relied on news reports), we now know this not just from the inherent unlikelihood of the account it provides, as was discussed by everyone in the conservative universe over the last two days, but from the text of the statement itself and its internal contradictions.

You may wonder, does the Sestak affair matter much in the larger scheme of things? Probably not. But it is fascinating and remarkable in its own right.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 30, 2010 02:00 PM | Send

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