Politics

White House Has No Answer So Far On Sestak Bribe Claim

One week after the President’s top spokesman was questioned about Rep. Joseph Sestak’s (D-Pa) claim that he was offered a high-ranking Administration position if he abandoned his primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter (D.-Pa.), the White House still has no answer yet on this very serious charge of a political bribe.

If Sestak’s claim is true, one or more Obama administration officials could be guilty of a federal felony.

At the regular briefing for reporters at the White House yesterday, I reminded Press Secretary Robert Gibbs of the two questions he had received last Monday (February 22nd) about Sestak’s “yes” reply to a television interviewer who asked whether he was offered a high-ranking position to get out of the primary against Republican-turned-Democrat Specter.

“I have not made any progress on that,” Gibbs told me.

I then reminded Gibbs that I had been in touch with Pentagon spokesman Goeff Morrell who said no one in the office of the secretary of defense knew anything about a discussion with retired Navy Vice Admiral Sestak and that the Keystone State congressman’s spokesman had told me the congressman stood by his story. 

“Can you check if the White House made any offer?,” I asked Gibbs.

“Yes,” he replied, “I was remiss on this and I apologize.”

Later, my colleague Fred Lucas of CNS again raised the Sestak controversy and told Gibbs that the Philadelphia Inquirer had reported that an unknown White House spokesman did deny what Sestak had said three times now .

“I said I would check on this,” Gibbs told Lucas, “It’s hard for me to do follow-ups on something I can’t work through.”

“So at this point the White House is not ready to deny what Sestak said?” Lucas pressed. 

“No,” said Gibbs, and then pointing to me repeated that “I think I said I would check on the situation.”

From Sestak’s insistence on what he was offered and Gibbs’ incomplete answers, the question of whether the White House attempted to bribe Sestak is still open.