Rahm to Bill to Joe

The former president as political cutout.

The Wall Street Journal

At his Thursday press conference, President Obama said that “I can assure the public that nothing improper took place” in the curious case of Joe Sestak and the Pennsylvania Senate primary—but he declined to say what, exactly, took place. After yesterday’s pre-Memorial Day weekend news dump, now we know. Sort of. Maybe. In a way.

Last summer, Mr. Sestak said he’d been offered a high-ranking federal job in return for ending his ultimately successful bid to depose Arlen Specter, an act of interfering in an election that would constitute a felony if it was direct enough. The account released yesterday by White House counsel Robert Bauer says that Rahm Emanuel enlisted Bill Clinton “to determine whether Congressman Sestak would be interested in service on a Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board.” And the post “would have been uncompensated.”

So a two-term President who is now ambassador to the world is running errands for the White House chief of staff, and the plumb job he has at his disposal is a seat on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, or perhaps the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships?

And the Congressman was supposed to give up his reasonable chance at a U.S. Senate seat for such a sinecure? As a simple matter of political respect, Mr. Clinton could at least have thrown in a consulting gig with Yucaipa.

Mr. Sestak put out a statement yesterday corroborating that chain of events, which is somewhat credulity-straining—not least because of the White House’s eagerness to clear the primary field. “There have been numerous, reported instances in the past when prior Administrations—both Democratic and Republican, and motivated by the same goals—discussed alternative paths to service for qualified individuals also considering campaigns for public office,” Mr. Bauer wrote. “Such discussions are fully consistent with the relevant law and ethical requirements.”

The commentary continues at The Wall Street Journal.

Read also WH had Clinton try to ease Sestak out of Pa. race at Breitbart.com

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