President Obama’s chief of staff used former President Bill Clinton as an intermediary to see if Representative Joe Sestak would drop out of a Senate primary if given a prominent, but unpaid, advisory position, people briefed on the matter said Friday.Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, asked Mr. Clinton to explore the possibilities last summer, according to the briefed individuals, who insisted on anonymity to discuss the politically charged situation. Mr. Sestak said no and went on to win last week’s Pennsylvania Democratic primary against Senator Arlen Specter.
The White House is trying to spin and mitigate the seriousness by (1) saying that someone not officially in their employ communicated the offer and that (2) the offer was for an unpaid position.
As for the first "mitigating" factor, the communications medium is irrelevant. It doesn't matter whether the offer was made via messenger, a phone call, an e-mail, or by Pony Express, the offer was still made by the White House to Joe Sestak.
As for the second, again, it makes no difference. They may be trying to get around the language of Title 18 of the US Code which refers to "anything of value" in such a quid pro quo, which brings to mind Whoopi Goldberg's defense of Roman Polanski (it wasn't rape rape!). In any event, I have serious doubts that this administration would be stupid enough to offer an unpaid position in exchange for giving up a chance at a Senate seat.
And this is just the corruption to which they're admitting. What other sleaze do we not know about?
New politics, indeed.
Update: Verdict, GUILTY.
Whoever, directly or indirectly, promises any employment, position, compensation, contract, appointment, or other benefit, provided for or made possible in whole or in part by any Act of Congress, or any special consideration in obtaining any such benefit, to any person as consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity or for the support of or opposition to any candidate or any political party in connection with any general or special election to any political office, or in connection with any primary election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates for any political office, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.Update 2: I think the "made possible in whole or in part by any Act of Congress" bit might be the out, IF in fact the position offered was an unpaid one, and not SecNav as has been speculated.