Judicial Watch Files Congressional Ethics Complaint Against Rep. Joe Sestak Over Obama White House Jobs Scandal
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has filed a congressional ethics complaint against Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak for allegedly conspiring with the Obama White House to “cover up criminal conduct regarding job offers made to Congressman Sestak in exchange for leaving a political campaign.” As Judicial Watch notes in its complaint, Rep. Sestak changed his story regarding the details of the job offer “after consulting with the White House.”
According to Judicial Watch’s complaint, dated July 7, 2010: “…The record of statements made to the media suggest that Congressman Sestak and Obama White House officials conspired to cover up the facts of a job offer made to Congressman Sestak in an effort to avoid criminal sanctions for violation of the Hatch Act and other federal laws. And by so doing they may have engaged in a criminal conspiracy.”
In his initial statement to the press in February 2010, Rep. Sestak said he had been offered a “federal job” in an effort to dissuade him from challenging Sen. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania’s Democratic primary. He remained consistent to this initial statement through the end of May. On May 28th the White House released its official statement on the job offer and found “no improper conduct regarding Congressman Sestak.” Moreover, the White House claimed Sestak had not been offered a job, but rather “unpaid service on a presidential advisory board” by former President Bill Clinton at the behest of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.
After the White House issued its public statement, Rep. Sestak then changed his account suggesting he was not offered “a federal job,” but rather the White House made an “advisory board offer.” One day before the White House released its statement, Sestak admitted in a press interview the Obama White House contacted his brother to tell him “what’s going to occur.”
18 USC Section 371 states: “If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”
“It sure looks as though Congressman Sestak and the Obama White House conspired to get their stories straight. They knew they were on the wrong side of the law and seem to have engaged in a cover up. Why else would Congressman Sestak change his story so drastically? We hope the Office of Congressional Ethics will respond to our complaint and conduct a thorough and independent investigation so the record may be clear,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
On June 15, 2010, Judicial Watch filed a separate 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.