Sestak Says Offer Was Not Inappropriate

By Cullen Dirner

May 28, 2010 6:03pm

ABC’s Z. Byron Wolf reports: Rep. Joe Sestak walked down the House steps and into a phalanx of TV cameras after Congress wrapped up for the day. Sestak is at the center of a political scandal over whether the Obama White House and former President Clinton crossed an ethical line in trying to dissuade him from entering the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic primary last year. Today he said nothing inappropriate occurred and if he thought something inappropriate occurred he would have “reported it immediately.” But Sestak didn’t exactly embrace the White House either, classifying the offer as one of the “political deals” that are commonplace in Washington. “I understand Washington, DC is often about political deals. you know. (shrugging). I didn't feel bad or good or indifferent, I just said no and moved on,” Sestak said. Sestak entered the senate primary in 2009 despite the high-profile discouragement and defeated the incumbent, Sen. Arlen Specter in the primary this month. When a Pennsylvania reporter asked Sestak in February if anyone in the White House had offered him a job to not enter the race, Sestak said yes. But he would not elaborate. Today he said he remained cryptic because he was only answering to his part in the matter. An internal White House investigation released Friday found that the job offer, which was actually, according to the investigation, for the appointment to a Presidential commission, was not inappropriate. The internal investigation is not good enough for some Republicans. Rep. Darrel Issa, who is the ranking Republican on the House Government Reform Committee, waited around the corner and then watched Sestak speak to reporters. Afterward, Issa questioned the validity of the White House investigation and said there needs to be a thorough, unbiased inquiry by the Justice Department. “What we have is an administration that was trying to use a political appointment and a former President trying to get a member of Congress and a former Admiral not to run for an office,” said Issa, suggesting that sounds clearly like a violation of laws that prohibit giving anything of value for a political favor. Sestak said today he had spoken with Clinton about a Presidential appointment only once, for “about 30-60 seconds.” And they had not talked since that day about the primary, except when Clinton called Sestak to congratulate him on defeating Specter. Sestak also said that with the White House report, he thinks the issue will go away. – Z. Byron Wolf

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus