Issa Probes White House Cover-Up of Sestak Job Offer

March 22, 2010

WASHINGTON. D.C. – House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) sent a letter today to White House Counsel Robert Bauer regarding a letter Issa sent on March 10th requesting additional information about Rep. Joe Sestak’s public statements that the White House tried to secure his withdrawal from Pennsylvania’s Democratic Primary for the United States Senate in exchange for a high ranking federal job – believed to be Secretary of the Navy.”

On Tuesday of last week, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs stated publicly, that he – the press secretary – personally met with several White House staffers about the possibly criminal Sestak allegations.  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.”

“I requested answers to seven straightforward questions by no later than March 18, 2010.  To date, the White House has not responded to my letter,” Issa noted.  “To say the least, this is a highly irregular methodology for conducting a serious internal investigation of what, according to Rep. Sestak, may amount to criminal activity.  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.  Such slipshodness has all the makings of a cover-up.”

Issa added, “In my March 10, 2010 letter I asked some simple questions about Sestak’s allegations:  who at the White House offered Sestak the position; what position was he offered; when was the offer made; under what conditions was the job offered; and what type of investigation is your office conducting to determine the extent of the criminal activity reported by the Congressman.”

Issa requested answers to the following additional questions about this matter:

1.     What is the role of Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in the White House’s internal investigation into this serious criminal matter?

2.     Explain the basis for Robert Gibbs to take testimony from witnesses about this serious criminal matter?

3.     Gibbs stated that he has “talked to several people in the White House” about the Sestak matter.  Identify these individuals.

4.     On what basis has Robert Gibbs concluded that “whatever conversations have been had, are not problematic?”

5.     What is the status of your internal investigation?

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