Issa Calls on Attorney General to Appoint Special Prosecutor to Probe White House-Sestak Job Offer

April 21, 2010

WASHINGTON. D.C. – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) today sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder calling on him to “name a special prosecutor to conduct a formal investigation into whether a crime was committed when White house officials attempted to secure Rep. Joe Sestak’s withdrawal from Pennsylvania’s Democratic Primary for the United States Senate.”

“This request follows attempts I have made to obtain more information from the White House. I have written two letters asking some basic questions. To date, the White House has not responded,” wrote Issa. “The White House’s unwillingness to clearly and emphatically deny Rep. Sestak’s allegations of criminal conduct leads me to conclude that his account is accurate, reliable and truthful.”

The only public statement the White House has made about Rep. Sestak’s allegations has raised more questions. On March 16, 2010, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs stated publicly that he – the press secretary – personally met with several White House staffers about the criminal allegations raised by the Congressman. Gibbs stated:

“I’ve talked to several people in the White House. I’ve talked to people who have talked to others in the White House . . . . I’m told that whatever conversations have been had, are not problematic. I think Congressman Sestak has discussed that this is – whatever happened is in the past and he is focused on this primary.”

“Gibbs’s statements – namely that he is collecting direct evidence from witnesses – imply that the White House is allowing its communications staff to carry out investigative tasks ordinarily conducted by legal professionals in the Counsel’s office,” Issa wrote. “As I am sure you would agree this is no way to conduct a credible investigation.”

On February 18, 2010, Rep. Joe Sestak acknowledged that the White House offered him a high ranking federal job – believed to be Secretary of the Navy – in exchange for bowing out of the Senate race. Since Sestak’s initial admission, he has reiterated on numerous occasions that indeed he was offered a high level position in the Administration if he agreed to exit the race. If the Congressman is telling the truth – and no evidence has surfaced to the contrary – then a crime has been committed.

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