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'Have I got a job for you?' -- the sequel

The revelation that the Obama administration may have floated the idea of a job to a second candidate it wanted to sideline doubles its embarrassment over the Joe Sestak affair. But does it strengthen the case for a criminal investigation, either by a special prosecutor or the Justice Department? Probably not.

Better late than never, the White House has acknowledged that it had Bill Clinton float the idea of an advisory position in order to induce Sestak to drop his Pennsylvania primary challenge to Republican-turned-Democrat Sen. Arlen Specter.

Now it develops that an aide discussed a position in the administration with Andrew Romanoff, who is opposing incumbent Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet in that state's August primary. If the White House is to be believed, there was no job offer, just a question to Romanoff if he was still interested in a position he inquired about earlier with the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Assume the worst about the Romanoff overture, and you have a public-relations nightmare for the administration. But, as with the Sestak offer, it's unlikely any prosecutor, special or otherwise, would charge White House aides with violating a law that makes it a crime, punishable by a fine or a year's imprisonment, to offer a job to someone "as consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity or for the support of or opposition to any candidate or any political party."

Think of it as a math problem: If one approach like this isn't a big enough deal to justify a criminal prosecution, then the addition of another doesn't change things. Two times zero is still zero. Of course, the political equation could be very different.

-- Michael McGough



 

 

Comments () | Archives (9)

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ChrisS

Sorry, but this was a blatant violation of the Law.

I am NOT a Tea Partier or a republican. I think that ANY violation of the law like this by either side needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent. Even if that means putting the president in jail.

HarvardMB

There are very few reasons why public officials can be removed from office, thus allowing the officials to do their jobs without legal interference.

However, The Constitution specifically protects the People from the Government, by prohibiting crimes by government officials which attempt to alter the outcome of public elections.

Why? Because fair elections are the ONLY means for the People to assert their will upon the Government.

What the White House did was both illegal and unconstitutional.

Jon Healey

I think WH spokesman Joe Gibbs' interpretation of what WH Dep'y Chief of Staff Jim Messina did was, umm, short of the mark. From the LATimes earlier this week (http://lat.ms/bts5Df):

>Romanoff's campaign released an e-mail from Messina to Romanoff dated Sept. 11, 2009. The e-mail mentioned three executive branch positions: two in the U.S. Agency for International Development and one at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

>Romanoff said he got the e-mail after a phone conversation with Messina, who told him that Obama was backing Bennet.

>"Mr. Messina also suggested three positions that might be available to me were I not pursuing the Senate race," Romanoff said in his statement. "He added that he could not guarantee my appointment to any of these positions. At no time was I promised a job, nor did I request Mr. Messina's assistance in obtaining one."

Riiiiight. Looks like the WH dangled three positions in front of Romanoff knowing that he was interested in that specific line of work, albeit without an explicit offer, in the hope that he would withdraw from the race. Mike, you may be right about how weak the case against the WH might be, but I bet there's at least a few public-corruption prosecutors who'd be willing to try to make it stronger.

dharper

There are two areas of concern for this voter:

1. If this is Obama's idea of an "open and transparent" method of governing then he has lied to us on a campaign promise.

2. If, as his "stoolie" Robert Gibbs stated, that the president had no knowledge of this latest offer to Romanoff then the president has a bigger problem than he may realize.

In short, if you have, or allow your staff the leeway to go out and make these blatant offers without your knowledge and with the subsequent "credibility fallout" that will ultimately occur then you have no business running the government of the American people.

I will however, excuse your ill-informed staff for you are, and were well aware of their actions. You condone them in the same manner in which Chicago politics functions. You are the exact result of the crooked politics of Chicago but you are now on the national stage where you have to be held accountable for your actions.

The clincher for all this will be - "It's Bush's fault" since he has been this administration's excuse for all of its failures thus far.

Rahmn Emanuel has stated - "never waste a good crisis" - what Rahmn didn't ever forsee was that the Obama man would be creating his own crisis one after another ad nauseum.

And what a "lackey" Robert Gibbs continues to be - he tap dances around when asked a direct question like an elephant on rollar skates. He is totally unbelieveable.

Nov. of 2010 can't come soon enough - just too bad that the presidential election doesn't fall on this same date.

nemo

An Impeachable offense.

The law states:

"Whoever, directly or indirectly, promises any employment, position, compensation, contract, appointment, or other benefit, provided for or made possible in whole or in part by any Act of Congress, or any special consideration in obtaining any such benefit, to any person as consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity or for the support of or opposition to any candidate or any political party in connection with any general or special election to any political office, or in connection with any primary election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates for any political office, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both."

I repeat, "shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both."

The fact that you will not find democrat appointed prosecutors to prosecute this crime is NOT a valid argument that should escape the law.

Appoint an Independent Council NOW. As the law requires.

Mitchell Young

In the words of another Chitown pol , the appointment power is #@%!-in golden.

avatar666

Hats off to everyone who commented on this article!

Trying to rig an election, no matter what sort of "spin" you put on it, is illegal. Immoral and offensive the way this administration conducts business.

With the democrats and the media covering their ass, they'll probably get away with it, but it tells you a lot about Obama, his staff, and the congress.

Nemo

An Impeachable offense.

The law states:

"Whoever, directly or indirectly, promises any employment, position, compensation, contract, appointment, or other benefit, provided for or made possible in whole or in part by any Act of Congress, or any special consideration in obtaining any such benefit, to any person as consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity or for the support of or opposition to any candidate or any political party in connection with any general or special election to any political office, or in connection with any primary election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates for any political office, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both."

I repeat, "shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both."

I will also point out that we are not under any obligation to obey any laws made by these criminals. This is tyranny. Plain and simple.

You cannot pretend to make laws for others when you have no intention of obeying the law. People are under no obligation to follow them.

Air Rift

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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.



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