Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Joe Sestak’s campaign is staying mum on Rep. Darrell Issa’s latest assertion that the White House improperly — and possibly illegally — offered the Pennsylvanian a job in an attempt clear the Democratic primary field for incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter.
Joe Langdon, a spokesman for Sestak’s campaign, declined to comment on a letter that Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Issa (Calif.), Judiciary ranking member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Judiciary member Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) sent Wednesday to White House counsel Robert Bauer calling on the administration to turn over “all records and documents created by or produced” by the White House counsel or press secretary “in the course of the investigation of the Sestak matter” by June 9.
Both Sestak and the White House have denied any wrongdoing and insisted that there was never any explicit offer of a position. But both Sestak and Bauer acknowledged that week that former President Bill Clinton, acting as a White House emissary, mentioned in a conversation with Sestak last summer the possibility that Sestak could snag an unpaid advisory post if he remained in the House.
The Republicans also demanded notes and transcripts pertaining to any interviews the counsel’s office conducted with Sestak, Clinton, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Richard Sestak, the candidate’s brother and campaign director, about the matter as well as “all documents, emails and phone records related to conversations White House staff had with or about Rep. Sestak and any members of Rep. Sestak’s campaign.”
The letter states that the request for additional information is designed “to resolve the apparent inconsistencies” between the conclusions of a Friday memo in which Bauer acknowledged the conversation last summer between Clinton and Sestak “and the publicly-available evidence.”
Republicans, eager to win back the seat they held for almost three decades prior to Specter’s 2009 defection from the GOP, have seized on the Sestak flap. Americans for Limited Government released a statement Wednesday commending Issa for pursing the matter, even as the National Republican Senatorial Committee issued a release calling attention to the fact that Specter — but not Sestak — will accompany President Barack Obama at a Wednesday afternoon event in Pittsburgh.
Specter flew with the president to Pittsburgh aboard Air Force One. En route to Pittsburgh, White House spokesman Bill Burton told reporters that Sestak had been invited to the event but had a previous commitment.
White House officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Republicans’ letter.