Issa, Smith and Sensenbrenner Call on White House to Live Up to Pledge of Transparency and Release Sestak Investigation Docs

June 2, 2010

WASHINGTON. D.C. – Responding to a memo (Sestak Memorandum) released last Friday purporting to resolve allegations of criminal misconduct by White House officials, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA), House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) today sent a letter to White House Counsel Robert Bauer calling on him to produce “all records and documents created by or produced to the Office of the White House Counsel in the course of the investigation of the Sestak matter.”

“Rather than definitively resolve this matter, the memorandum had precisely the opposite effect: it appears to catalog a violation of the federal criminal code, the tampering of evidence, witness tampering and evasion of the legal process,” Reps. Issa, Smith and Sensenbrenner wrote.  “The Sestak matter represents a chance for this White House to live up to the high standard of transparency and accountability they set for themselves.  In light of the President’s oft-stated goal of promoting unprecedented levels of openness and transparency, we believe that the American people are entitled to review the substance of your investigation of this matter themselves.  If the American people are to have any meaningful degree of confidence in the legitimacy of the conclusions drawn in the Sestak memorandum, they must have access to the underlying information.”

The Sestak Memorandum revealed that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel dispatched former President Bill Clinton to offer Rep. Sestak a position on a Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board in exchange for abandoning the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary.  Earlier today, the White House responded to an inquiry from Politico by saying, “Congressman Issa can continue to chase his tail all he wants, but President Bush’s own ethics attorney [Richard Painter] said this was a ‘non issue’ and called on Republicans to ‘move on.’ Nothing here is unusual or ever thought to be illegal, as evidenced by the experience of the Bush, Clinton and Reagan administrations.”

Reps. Issa, Smith and Sensenbrenner responded in the letter by noting, “For a President who campaigned by assailing the policies and practices of the Bush Administration to justify his actions by invoking his predecessor is ironic.  This White House has frequently blamed the policies of the Bush Administration when addressing problems, and yet in this case when those policies align with the President’s agenda, the White House did not hesitate to embrace them.  The American people elected a President who promised to change the status quo and business-as-usual practices of Washington.  Has this White House become a part of the establishment they once opposed?”

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