ALG Condemns White House for Allegedly Offering Rep. Joe Sestak a Federal Job to Quit PA Senate Race against Sen. Specter

"Offices of the public trust are not chips on a table to be bartered by elected officials who want to favor incumbents in Congress."

—ALG President Bill Wilson

February 19th, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson today condemned the White House for allegedly offering Congressman Joe Sestak (D-PA) a federal appointment or job in exchange for dropping out of the Democratic Senatorial primary against incumbent Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA).

"These allegations, if true, amount to bribery," Wilson charged, adding, "Using a federal appointment as the means to affect the outcome of a primary challenge against an embattled incumbent Senator is a gross misuse of the Office of the President."

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:


"The disclosure came during an afternoon taping of Larry Kane: Voice of Reason, a Sunday news-analysis show on the Comcast Network. Sestak would not elaborate on the circumstances and seemed chagrined after blurting out 'yes' to veteran news anchor Kane's direct question. 


"'Was it secretary of the Navy?' Kane asked.


"'No comment,' Sestak said.


"'Was it [the job] high-ranking?' Kane asked. Sestak said yes, but added that he would 'never leave' the Senate race for a deal."


Wilson praised Sestak for "not taking the bribe, and for being honest about what happened.  Congressman Joe Sestak has the integrity to admit that the offer was made."

Thus far, the White House has denied the charges.

Wilson called upon both chambers of Congress to immediate launch investigations into the matter, saying, "If true, heads should roll for this perversion and inherent corruption of our representative form of government."

Wilson said the investigations were necessary, since the White House was overtly denying the accusations.

According to the Inquirer, interviewing Ross Baker, a Rutgers University political science professor specializing in Congress, "Clearly, the offers are made.  When a White House wants to preempt a [primary] challenge, they'll dangle something.  But it is almost never uttered."

The report continues, "In addition, Baker said, conversations in such cases are nuanced, and savvy operators know not to use explicit quid pro quo language."

Wilson said, "In this case, the language must have been pretty darn explicit, since he answered 'yes' to a direct question about a quid pro quo."

Baker told the Inquirer that he could not think of another instance in which a candidate had ever divulged such an offer from White House officials.

Wilson said that "Congressional inquiries, and barring that, an Independent Counsel, are necessary and appropriate to get to the bottom of this cesspool, and Congressman Sestak should be called to testify under oath."

Wilson concluded, "Offices of the public trust are not chips on a table to be bartered by elected officials who want to favor incumbents in Congress."