The New York Times revealed this afternoon that anonymous sources have informed it that Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel asked former President Bill Clinton to offer Congressman Joe Sestak a high but unpaid advisory post in the Administration if he would drop out of the Senate race against Senator Arlen Specter. One post mentioned was service on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.
The idea was to immunize Obama and Rahm from possible criminal prosecution by using Clinton, not a government employee, as a cut out and to keep the offer to an unpaid job in hopes of not running afoul of the federal bribery statute.
But these evasions will not blunt the force of the law. If Clinton acted at Emanuel’s request, he was Rahm’s agent and the Chief of Staff is still on the hook. And, an unpaid position is still “something of value” within the meaning of the bribery statute which prohibits the offering of something of value in return for a vote.
And, remember why they wanted Sestak out of the race. The White House needed Specter’s vote to kill filibusters and could only get it if he would switch parties, a move he conditioned on getting Sestak to drop out and assure him a clear field for the nomination of his new party. So the bribe offer to Sestak was made by an agent of a government employee, it involved something of value, and it was to procure a vote in the Senate — all the elements needed for a felony to have taken place.
In a previous column (read it at DickMorris.com) Dick and Fox News Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano suggest that Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, now the Republican nominee for Governor, should empanel a grand jury to get to the bottom of this affair. Today’s revelation makes this ever more urgent.