February 26, 2010

Hope ‘n’ Change: That Demo Culture of Corruption

The White House is being accused of offering juicy government jobs to two Democrats in exchange for their withdrawal from potential primary battles in this year’s election cycle. The charges, which come from the Democrats themselves, are quite serious and carry punishments including jail time, assuming anyone would prosecute.

Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) stated in a televised interview that someone from the Obama administration offered him a high-ranking federal position if he dropped his primary challenge against now-Democrat Sen. Arlen Specter. Sestak would not comment on who approached him or the position offered, and, predictably, the White House denied the allegation.

Meanwhile, former Colorado state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff was reportedly offered a position with the U.S. Agency for International Development in exchange for dropping his challenge against Sen. Michael Bennet.

Both Specter and Bennet are considered vulnerable in 2010, and the White House has thrown its full support behind each. Specter switched parties last year to officially become the Democrat he’s always been because he believed that as a Republican he couldn’t survive another primary challenge from conservative former Representative and president of Club for Growth Pat Toomey. Bennet was appointed to his current seat last year after then Senator Ken Salazar left to become Secretary of the Interior.

Pointed questions are already being asked in Washington. For example, whose idea was it to approach these men with these illegal quid pro quos? Was White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel involved? Did Vice President Joe Biden play a role? After all, he takes credit for getting Specter to cross the aisle. What kind of stonewalling can be expected from the White House when the request is made for documentation of these conversations? All calls are required by law to be logged.

In the end, however, it’s likely that nothing will become of these allegations. After all, to paraphrase Al Gore, is there really any controlling legal authority?

In related corruption news, a House ethics panel found that Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) accepted corporate money for Caribbean trips in violation of House rules. According to the ethics panel, Rangel’s staff knew the origins of the money, but they could not determine exactly what Rangel himself knew. Rangel is, for now, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, though that could change in light of this finding.

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