Republicans Rip White House on Continuing Bribery Scandal

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), top Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is taking issue with remarks made by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel on a news program over the weekend.

Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Emanuel said there is “nothing more that’s needed” for transparency in the White House’s scheme for former President Bill Clinton to offer Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak (D-Penn.) an unpaid, appointed position — that by law he was not allowed to accept as a sitting member of Congress — in order to somehow persuade him to withdraw from the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary election.  

“If the administration has nothing to hide, why not provide Congress with the requested documents and restore integrity to our election process?” Issa remarked.  “It’s time for the White House to make good on its promise of transparency and come clean about what other elections administration officials may have sought to influence.”

On Friday, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Constitution Subcommittee Ranking Member Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) introduced a resolution of inquiry demanding information about the role the Justice Department may have played in the job offers made to Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) and Colorado senatorial candidate Andrew Romanoff.  

Last Monday, the Justice Department sent a reply to a letter requesting the documentation from Smith and Sensenbrenner assuring the members that the department takes the allegations of criminal conduct by White House officials seriously — and then refused to disclose documentation on the Justice Department’s decision not to appoint a special counsel.

The resolution of inquiry is in response to that stonewalling and could be debated in committee as early as Wednesday.

“For an administration that prides itself on transparency, the Obama administration is remarkably secretive when it comes to possible criminal misconduct by White House officials,” Smith said.  “The American people are rightly concerned about what appears to be a pattern of corrupt practices by White House officials who sought to manipulate Democratic Senate primaries by offering candidates jobs in the administration.”

The Judiciary Committee is required to take up the resolution within 14 legislative days.  If passed by the House, the resolution would require the Justice Department to provide all requested documents to Congress.

“It’s very important that the public and the voters of Pennsylvania and Colorado are able to get to the bottom of this before they cast their votes — they deserve nothing less than honest and accurate information,” Sensenbrenner said.