White House Story on Job Gate Isn’t Believable

The only way we'll get the truth on the job offer to Joe Sestak is with an independent investigation

Pop quiz: Which of the following is true:

A) When the game was on the line, Donovan McNabb always came up big.

B) Wall Street executives only have your interests at heart.

C) The BP chief executive has handled the oil spill with acumen and aplomb.

D) The White House has been forthright, timely and believable regarding Joe Sestak and “Job Gate.”

In the spirit of the 8th grade teacher who always played mind games during tests, the answer is E) None of the above.

Since A through C speak for themselves, let’s focus on D.

The White House, in full “transparency” mode, said that offering Democratic U.S. candidate Joe Sestak a job in exchange for abandoning the Pennsylvania senate race was much ado about nothing. [SIGNUP]

Pay no attention to the weekend bombshell that not one, but two Presidents, are fully immersed in what could be felonious acts.

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After months of simmering, the Job Gate issue exploded right after the May 18 primary. Sestak, fresh off ending Arlen Specter’s political career, found himself at the epicenter of a political earthquake.

People wanted answers as to what really transpired between the White House and Sestak. Why? Because offering an Administration job as a prize to Sestak for leaving Specter — the White House’s favorite son —alone, is a crime.

Since that type of quid pro quo arrangement, is, unmistakably, against the law, some have suggested that if the President knew of such a deal, his involvement could prove impeachable.

That’s a stretch, at least at this point, because we have no way of knowing who knew what, as well as the context of the conversations.

And that’s where it gets messy.

The White House at first denied Sestak’s story, but later changed its tune by admitting that discussions did take place, but that “nothing inappropriate” happened. It belatedly reached this conclusion after it had investigated the matter itself.

Which is like the fox investigating the disappearance of a hen.

So why did it take months to admit that conversations took place, and why all the stonewalling about who made the offer to Sestak?

Probably because Bill Clinton was the messenger.

Talk about adding fuel to the fire.

If Clinton, as an agent of the White House, made a quid pro quo offer to Sestak, it is reasonable to think he wasn’t acting on the orders of a low-level staffer.

Given the incredibly high stakes, was that the reason for the tight-lipped Sestak and the silent White House? Were they colluding to get their stories straight? If so, could that be construed as criminal conspiracy?
Several basic questions come to mind, but have yet to be answered — a situation made even more frustrating because both Obama and Sestak made transparency and accountability centerpieces of their respective campaigns.

If “nothing inappropriate” happened, why was there any delay — let alone three months — in being forthcoming with the facts?

What was the exact context of the conversation between Clinton and Sestak? Since neither side has a track record of openness in this case, and given that it may not be in either’s interest to say anything, an independent investigation must take place.

Once we bypass their rhetoric that “this isn’t an issue anyone cares about,” what is Sestak’s and the White House’s position on an independent counsel investigation?

Does anyone really believe that, after all the cloak and dagger drama, the whole affair boiled down to Sestak taking an unpaid position within the Administration? After 31 years in the Navy, Sestak maintains an Admiral’s mentality, and made no secret that he was done serving in the House, preferring to be senatorial.

So we’re supposed to believe that the White House truly thought Sestak could be wooed out of the senate race in exchange for an advisory position with no power?

In addition to potential bribery charges against White House officials, could Sestak himself be charged? If he thought the offer was a quid pro quo, which his own words seem to indicate, and which a senior White House official said would be a “serious breach of the law,” could charges of not reporting a felony be in order?

Title 18 of the U.S. Code reads, “Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

The law is clear, Sestak’s words seem clear, and the White House still isn’t talking. So what’s the real deal?

Here’s a scenario:

It was no secret that Barack Obama wanted Specter to win the nomination. After all, the senator had voted for Obama’s agenda. In his hour of need, when poll numbers began to head the wrong way, Specter called on The Big Gun — Obama himself — for a final campaign push. But Obama wasn’t answering.

The pundits — Freindly Fire included — attributed that to Obama steering clear of yet another election defeat. But maybe there was more to it.

Maybe Obama and his top brass realized they had a smoking bazooka on their hands, a wild card they couldn’t control. Maybe they looked ahead to a Specter win with horror, facing the possibility that a defeated Sestak, now out of a job, would tell the world that two Presidents tried to bribe him.

So perhaps the Administration made a decision to avert that situation at all costs.

And the best way to accomplish that was a Specter defeat.

After all, Sestak emerging as the winner would instantly make everyone on the same team, all with an equal stake. And all would benefit from brushing this scandal off as if nothing “inappropriate” happened. Silence would be golden.

But a funny thing happened along the way. The media did its job.

The story caught fire, engulfing Sestak and the White House in a way neither anticipated. As a result, both have been scrambling ever since.

Do people care about jobs and the economy? You bet. But they also realize that possible public corruption entangling those at the very highest levels of government is not the way to fix America.

For the sake of those involved — most of all the credibility of the White House and Joe Sestak’s chances to be Pennsylvania’s next senator — it would be appropriate for an independent investigation to discover the truth.

It’s time to clean this festering wound, and sunshine is the best antiseptic.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com. Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.” Freind also serves as a weekly guest commentator on the Philadelphia-area talk radio show, Political Talk (WCHE 1520), and makes numerous other television and radio appearances. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com.