House Minority Leader John Boehner joined two of his ranking members Thursday in demanding that the White House release all information pertaining to allegations that the Obama administration used plum federal positions to try to prevent competitive primary contests.
“Two Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate have now come forward to reveal that the White House initiated discussions of government jobs in order to facilitate their withdrawal from their respective races and boost the prospects of President Obama’s favored candidates,” the Ohio Republican said in a statement.
“The fastest way for the American people to get the answers they deserve about this troubling pattern of conduct is for the White House to come clean and disclose its use of federal appointments to manipulate elections.”
Boehner’s comments came the day after former Colorado state Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D) said White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina discussed the possibility of three federal jobs last year if Romanoff chose not to challenge Sen. Michael Bennet in the state’s Aug. 10 primary. Romanoff outpolled Bennet at the state Democratic convention May 22, but Bennet is considered the frontrunner in the primary.
The Romanoff allegation came days after the White House acknowledged dispatching former President Bill Clinton to talk to Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) about considering an unpaid presidential advisory post instead of challenging Sen. Arlen Specter in his primary.
Sestak chose to remain in the race and defeated Specter last month.
Boehner’s comments come after Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Lamar Smith (Texas), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, called on relevant administration officials to be “interviewed under oath by a Special Counsel, the FBI or Congressional investigators.”
“It’s time now for Democrats in Congress to focus on a real scandal with real criminal implications for White House officials,” Issa and Smith said in a statement. “If the Administration continues to stonewall Congress, then Congress must demand the transparency that President Obama promised, but refuses to make good on.”
In a letter Wednesday, Issa, Smith and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) called on White House Counsel Robert Bauer to release “all records and documents created by or produced to the Office of the White House Counsel in the course of the investigation of the Sestak matter.”
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Thursday that President Barack Obama was not aware of the discussion between Messina and Romanoff. Gibbs stressed that no job was ever offered to the Colorado Democrat.
“Let’s be clear: There wasn’t a job offer,” Gibbs said. “There wasn’t a job promised. Mr. Romanoff applied for a job in government service during the transition. I think that’s — that’s the fact pattern.”