Judicial Watch Files Complaint with Office of Special Counsel Requesting Investigation of Obama White House “Bribery Scandals”
JUNE 16, 2010
Judicial Watch, the nonpartisan public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has filed an official complaint with the Office of Special Counsel requesting an investigation into violations of the Hatch Act by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina. Emanuel and Messina allegedly interfered with Senate elections in Pennsylvania and Colorado respectively by offering federal appointments to Rep Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff in order to persuade the Senate candidates to abandon their campaigns.
According to the complaint, filed on June 15, 2010:
As widely reported in the media, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and deputy chief of staff Jim Messina, on behalf of the Obama Administration, have both used their position and influence as highly placed federal employees to affect the outcome of federal elections in direct violation of the Hatch Act, which states that an employee may not “use his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.”
On May 27, 2009, Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak indicated in an interview with CNN that he intended to challenge Senator Arlen Specter in the 2010 Democratic Primary. According to a White House memo authored by White House Counsel Robert Bauer, “efforts were made in June and July of 2009 to determine whether Congressman Sestak would be interested in service on a Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board, which would avoid a divisive Senate primary.” The memo further notes that Emanuel enlisted the help of former President Bill Clinton to raise the executive branch positions with Congressman Sestak. Sestak rebuffed the Obama White House offers and defeated Specter in the Primary.
The Colorado Independent reported on August 29, 2009, that Andrew Romanoff planned to challenge Colorado Democratic Senator Steve Bennet in the 2010 Democratic Primary. According to The Washington Post, Messina allegedly called Romanoff on September 11, 2009, and suggested that Romanoff’s time might be better spent working for the U.S. Agency for International Development instead of running for the Senate. Romanoff released to the press an email from Messina dated that same day listing three jobs that “would be available” if Romanoff were not running for the Senate against Bennet. Two of them were with USAID and the other was the position of director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. Romanoff rebuffed the Obama White House offers and defeated Bennet in the primary.
“Top Obama White House officials attempted to manipulate federal elections in at least two states, which is a clear violation of the law. An investigation by the Office of Special Counsel is a first step. It is an absolute disgrace that Attorney General Holder has not appointed a special counsel to investigate these scandals. And the fact that Congress is largely silent on this serious Obama scandal is one more reason why the public holds it in such low esteem,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
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