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Obama Tried Bribing Arlen Specter's Opponent
Judicial Watch is reporting a major political scandal orchestrated by the Obama Administration.  A popular Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania has revealed that the White House tried bribing him to drop out of the upcoming U.S. Senate race.

Congressman Joe Sestak said in a television news show that the White House offered him a top federal job in an effort to keep him from challenging Senator Arlen Specter in the state's Democratic primary.  A five-term incumbent, Specter switched from Republican to Democrat last spring after giving Obama the critical vote for his disastrous and fraud-infested $787 billion stimulus program.

Obama clearly wants to return the favor by helping the controversial lawmaker keep his job.  In fact, Obama endorsed Specter at the White House and has raised money for the 80-year-old lawmaker.  Besides Obama, many top Democratic leaders have also tried to dissuade Sestak, a retired Navy admiral, from challenging Specter.

However, attempting to bribe a legislator with a "high-ranking" federal job is deplorable and downright unethical to say the least.  Obviously this is why Obama and his White House staff are enraged that Sestak disclosed the unscrupulous backdoor offer to keep him out of the upcoming Democratic primary.

Before Specter bailed on Republicans Obama assured the contentious lawmaker he'd do everything in his power to help him win reelection if he switched parties.  The White House assured Specter there was no Democrat in a position to make a realistic challenge against him and that he had the "full backing" of Obama, which includes campaigning and fundraising by the commander-in-chief.

That plan evidently blew up in Obama's face so he resorted to bribery.  Not only does Specter face stiff competition from Sestak in the Democratic primary, the Republican (former Congressman Pat Toomey) expected to make the general election leads both Specter and Sestak in head-to-head match-ups by about ten points.

"Whoever solicits or receives … any….thing of value, in consideration of the promise of support or use of influence in obtaining for any person any appointive office or place under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both." -- 18 USC Sec. 211 -- Bribery, Graft and Conflicts of Interest: Acceptance or solicitation to obtain appointive public office.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbels said Monday he would have to "check on it" before he could deny Rep. Joe Sestak’s (D.-Pa.) claim that the administration had offered him a high-ranking job in the administration in exchange for not mounting a primary challenge against incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter (D.-Pa.), who switched parties last year, briefly giving the Democrats a 60-vote majority in the Senate.

"So, at this point, the White House is not ready to deny what Sestak said?"  CNSNews.com asked Gibbels.

"No.  I think I said I would check on it, on the situation," said Gibbels.

Gibbels statement that he still needed to do some checking on the issue comes a week after he gave virtually the same non-substantive answer to reporters who asked about it at last Tuesday’s briefing.

It also comes ten days after Fox News reported that an unnamed White House official, speaking on "background," had denied Rep. Sestak’s claim, and nine days after the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that an unnamed White House official, who insisted on "anonymity," had "vociferously" denied the congressman’s claim.  Rep. Sestak, meanwhile, has repeatedly stood by his assertion that the administration offered him a job in exchange for not running against Specter.

Sen. Specter, a five-term incumbent, switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party in 2009. Rep. Sestak is now challenging him for the Democratic nomination to run in the Senate election this November.

The controversy started on Feb. 18, when Sestak appeared on "Larry Kane: Voice of Reason," a public affairs television program on the Comcast Network in Pennsylvania. Kane asked, "Were you ever offered a federal job to get out of this race?"

"Yes," said Sestak.

"Was it secretary of the Navy?"  Kane asked.

"No comment, though I would never get out for a deal.  I’m in this for the Democratic principles," said Sestak.

"Okay," said Kane.  "But there was a job offered to you by the White House?"

"Yes, someone offered--" said Sestak.

"It was big, right?" asked Kane.

"It was -- let me not comment on it," Sestak responded.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, which had a reporter present when Sestak taped the interview with Kane, reported that Sestak "nodded when asked if the offer was for a high-ranking post."

Continue reading here . . .
Now, Here's A Surprise
The Daily Caller is reporting that a federal judge refused on Friday to approve a subpoena calling for Barack Obama to testify at the political corruption trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The request from Blagojevich’s attorneys fell "very short of authorizing a subpoena for the president," U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel said.  But Zagel said he might revisit the issue, perhaps during the trial, if any evidence suggests Obama might have something relevant to tell the jury.

Blagojevich is due to go on trial, starting with jury selection June 3.  He is charged with scheming to use his power as governor to fill U.S. Senate vacancies in order to sell or trade the senate seat that Obama vacated after he was elected president in November 2008.

The former governor is also charged with trying to use his power to bring illegal pressure for money on potential campaign contributors.  His brother, businessman Robert Blagojevich, is charged with helping him.  Both have pleaded not guilty.

Defense attorneys asked for the subpoena last week, saying Obama could shed light on the charges that Blagojevich attempted to trade or sell the president’s former Senate seat.

Obama has not been accused of any wrongdoing in the case.  And it would be very unusual for a sitting president to take the witness stand in a Chicago corruption trial or any other trial.  But Bill Clinton did give a videotaped deposition in July l996 while president and it was later played at the trial of two bankers were acquitted of corruption charges.and .

Blagojevich was not on hand for the hearing.  His attorney Sheldon Sorosky told reporters after court that he was encouraged because "the judge did say that he still might allow the president to testify later on should it become necessary, and I’m sure it will be revisited."

Zagel dismissed several other defense motions, including a request for a rule barring anyone who had been convicted of a felony and is awaiting sentence from the witness stand.

Defense attorneys said in court papers that practice, which is common throughout U.S. courts, creates temptation on the part of witnesses to curry favor with prosecutors.  But Zagel said appeals courts have upheld the practice of swapping lenient sentences for prosecution testimony.

Zagel also turned down a defense request for an advance look at jury instructions to help lawyers frame their opening statements.

Regarding the writers comment, "it would be very unusual for a sitting president to take the witness stand..."

The first sitting president
called to testify was Thomas Jefferson.  In 1807, Jefferson was called to testify in the treason trial of Aaron Burr, Jefferson's former vice president.

Jefferson invoked executive privilege and refused to testify, setting a precedent invoked by Richard Nixon, who resigned in 1974 after the Supreme Court ruled he would be required to turn over White House recordings pertaining to the Watergate scandal.

"Gerald Ford gave videotaped testimony in the criminal trial of a woman who had attempted to shoot him.  And Ronald Reagan testified after leaving office in matters related to the Iran-Contra affair," Smith said.
Holder Ignoring Bribes Under His Nose
Last fall, the Denver Post reported that somebody in the Obama White House offered a plum job to former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff on the condition that he drop his Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Michael Bennett.  Then in February, Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., told a talk radio program that somebody in the Obama White House had offered him a job in exchange for dropping his Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter.  Given credible allegations that federal laws against offering federal jobs in return for political favors were broken, a previous Washington Examiner editorial asked: "Isn't that enough for somebody at the Department of Justice to start asking some serious questions?"

The answer to that question still appears to be a resounding "no."  Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the ranking minority member of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, last week asked Attorney General Eric Holder point-blank whether he was investigating "an allegation that this White House has committed three felonies in offering a member of Congress a high-ranking position in this administration in return for getting out of the primary."

In response, Holder put on an epic demonstration of how to dance around a question without answering it.  First, Holder told Issa he couldn't comment on any allegations that might come under the purview of the Justice Department.  So Issa then asked Holder if, hypothetically speaking, he would clearly state that it was a crime to offer someone a federal job in exchange for political favors.  "I don't answer hypotheticals," answered Holder.  Prior to this exchange before the committee, Holder had refused to comment at all, not even to say that he wouldn't comment despite the fact that Issa had addressed the same questions to him in an April 21 letter.  Holder apologized during last week's exchange with Issa for his failure to respond to the California Republican's letter but only after being challenged on it.

Holder isn't the only official stonewalling on the political bribery operation apparently being conducted by somebody in the White House with well-paid federal jobs as the payoff.  Issa asked White House counsel Bob Bauer about the allegations in a March 10 letter, but has yet to get a response.  White House press secretary Robert Gibbs has been asked by journalists about the Sestak bribe offer numerous times, but has responded evasively.  The Sestak-Specter primary was decided yesterday, so it's too late for Pennsylvania voters.  But Colorado's primary isn't until Aug. 10, so Holder can at least do something about that race.  The attorney general's silence can only be construed as his consent to violating the law.

Related:  White House offered Greg Craig a judgeship.
Sestak Bribery Scandal Is Impeachable Offense
Flopping Aces says Sestak refuses to say what the job was or who at the White House offered it to him.  Earlier this year, Robert Gibbs, White House press spokesman, repeatedly tried to stonewall the matter hoping reporters would drop it.  Finally this Monday David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist said that the matter had been looked into and that "nothing inappropriate happened." He refused to give any details and quickly changed the subject (video).

Something smells fishy here doesn’t it?  Either Sestak was offered a job, in which case it could be a violation of federal law or he wasn’t offered a job and is lying about it.  If "nothing inappropriate happened" why won’t the White House come forward and describe the contacts staffers had with Sestak to get him out of the race with Specter?  And if any serious cabinet level job offer was considered it would have to have been made with the full knowledge and assent of Obama.

Readers may recall the absolute frenzy and firestorm that broke out during the Bush Administration when it was falsely claimed that Karl Rove or other senior White House staff might have outted CIA agent Valerie Plame.  No one was ever charged with violating the law against disclosing covert CIA agents, not even Richard Armitage at the State Dept. who actually leaked her name.  There was no charge for violating that law because Ms. Plame did not meet the standards in the law defining a covert CIA agent.  But that didn’t stop the Special Prosecutor from going forward with a full investigation of top White House officials.
Who's Behind The White House/Sestak Stonewall
Michelle Malkin says that after three months of zipped lips and feigned ignorance, the Obama White House is finally taking real heat over Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak's consistent claims that the administration offered him a job to drop his Senate bid.  Now it's time to redirect the spotlight where it belongs: on the top counsel behind the Washington stonewall, Bob "The Silencer" Bauer, Obama's "eligibility lawyer."

On Sunday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbels glibly asserted that "lawyers in the White House and others have looked into conversations that were had with Congressman Sestak.  And nothing inappropriate happened." With whom were these conversations had?  Gibbels won't say.  Neither will Attorney General Eric Holder, who dismissed "hypotheticals" when questioned about Sestak's allegations last week on Capitol Hill by GOP Rep. Darrell Issa of California.  Holder is simply taking his cue from the commander-in-chief's personal lawyer and Democratic Party legal boss.

You see, on March 10, Issa also sent a letter to Bauer, the White House counsel to Obama, requesting specifics: Did White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel contact Sestak?   Did White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina (whom another Democrat, U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff, has accused of offering a cabinet position in exchange for his withdrawal)?  How about the White House Office of Political Affairs?  Any other individuals?  What position(s) was/were offered in exchange for Sestak's withdrawal?  And what, if any, steps did Bauer take to investigate possible criminal activity?

Bauer's answers?  Zip.  Nada.  Zilch.  While the veteran attorney ducked under a table with the president, Gibbels stalled publicly as long as he could -- deferring inquiries about the allegations one week by claiming he had been "on the road" and had "not had a chance to delve into this," and then admitting the next week that he had "not made any progress on that," refusing the week after that to deny or admit the scheme, and then urging reporters to drop it because "whatever happened is in the past."

But the laws governing such public corruption are still on the books.  And unlike Gibbels, the U.S. code governing bribery, graft and conflicts of interest is rather straightforward: "Whoever solicits or receives ... any ... thing of value, in consideration of the promise of support or use of influence in obtaining for any person any appointive office or place under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both."

Bauer is intimately familiar with electoral law, Barack Obama, ethics violations and government job-trading allegations.  And he's an old hand at keeping critics and inquisitors at bay.

A partner at the prestigious law firm Perkins Coie, Bauer served as counsel to the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Obama for America.  He also served as legal counsel to the George Soros-funded 527 organization America Coming Together during the 2004 campaign.  That get-out-the-vote outfit, helmed by Patrick Gaspard (the former Service Employees International Union heavy turned Obama domestic policy chief), employed convicted felons as canvassers and committed campaign finance violations that led to a $775,000 fine by the Federal Election Commission under Bauer's watch.

As I've reported previously, it was Bauer who lobbied the Justice Department unsuccessfully in 2008 to pursue a criminal probe of American Issues Project (AIP), an independent group that sought to run an ad spotlighting Obama's ties to Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers.  It was Bauer who attempted to sic the Justice Department on AIP funder Harold Simmons and who sought his prosecution for funding the ad.  And it was Bauer who tried to bully television stations across the country to compel them to pull the spot.  All on Obama's behalf.

More significantly, Bauer has served as Obama's personal attorney, navigating the corrupted waters of former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich's pay-for-play scandals in Illinois.  Bauer accompanied Obama to an interview with federal investigators in Chicago.  And he's got his hands full fighting Blago's motion to subpoena Obama in the Senate-seat-for-sale trial -- a subpoena that included references to a secret phone call between Obama and Blagojevich; an allegation that Emanuel floated his own suggested replacement for Obama's seat; an allegation that Obama told a "certain labor union official" that he would support (now-White House senior adviser) Valerie Jarrett to fill his old seat; and a bombshell allegation that Obama might have lied about conversations with convicted briber and fraudster Tony Rezko.

With not one, not two, but three Democrats (Sestak, Romanoff and Blagojevich) all implicating the agent of Hope and Change in dirty backroom schemes, "Trust Us" ain't gonna cut it.  Neither will "Shut Up and Go Away."  What did Bob "The Silencer" Bauer know, when did he know it, and how long does the Most Transparent Administration Ever plan to play dodgeball with the public?
Obama Dodges, But Sestak Questions Won't Go Away
Byron York asks how interested is Barack Obama in discussing Rep. Joe Sestak's allegation that the White House offered him a big government job if he would not challenge Sen. Arlen Specter, the White House's favored candidate in the Pennsylvania Senate primary?

Well, when Obama was asked about it at his news conference Thursday -- the question didn't come up until the very last reporter was called on -- the normally long-winded Obama spoke for a total of 32 seconds.

"I can assure the public that nothing improper took place," he said, echoing earlier statements from White House officials who denied any wrongdoing.  "There will be an official response shortly."  And that was that.

Obama's brief answer brought a smile to Rep. Darrell Issa, who has been pursuing the Sestak issue in his role as ranking Republican on the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform.  "That means the answer will be forthcoming after the lights go out for the weekend," Issa said shortly after the news conference.  "While the president is away and nobody's available, a statement will come out."

The way Issa sees it, the White House has to thread the needle when it finally responds to Sestak's charges.  A retired three-star Navy admiral, Sestak is now the Democratic candidate for Senate from Pennsylvania, and the White House wants all the Democratic senators it can get.  So they can't come out and call Sestak a liar or a hack.  On the other hand, they can't admit that what Sestak is saying is true, because that would be, in the words of top White House adviser David Axelrod, a "serious breach of the law."

So what can the White House do?  "They can say we're sorry, that the job offer was not intended to be a quid pro quo," Issa says.  "They can say that we offered a job to a person who was in the process of running for a Senate seat but who we felt he was better suited to be secretary of the Navy, and we never intended for it to be a quid pro quo but rather to fill our Cabinet with good people.  That's the only thread-the-needle that I see."

It might thread the needle, but it won't end the questions.  Say it turns out, as everyone believes, that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was the official who talked to Sestak, and the job in question was secretary of the Navy.  "Everybody is going to ask [Emanuel], Did you talk to Obama about this?"  Issa says.  "What happened when [Sestak] turned you down?  Did you believe he would get out of the race for this job?  Did you talk to Arlen Specter about this?  All those questions are inevitable."

Inevitable that they'll be asked, but not that they'll be answered, or that the answers will satisfy critics.  The matter at hand is a conversation that took place between Sestak and the White House.  To determine whether any wrongdoing occurred, we have to learn both sides of the conversation.  If the White House releases its side of the story, then we'll have to hear from Sestak, who has so far refused to provide any details.  Only then can investigators evaluate both versions of events.

Which is why on Wednesday all seven Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee -- a group that included the moderate Sen. Orrin Hatch -- wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder to ask that a special prosecutor be appointed to look into the Sestak matter.  Citing Axelrod's statements, the senators wrote, "We do not believe the Department of Justice can properly defer to White House lawyers to investigate a matter that could involve a 'serious breach of the law.' "

Holder has already rejected a similar request from Issa.  And no Democrats in the House or Senate support a Justice Department investigation, nor does the White House.  With total one-party control of the government, a formal probe is highly unlikely.  But some Democrats do want the issue to be resolved and have urged both sides to get the facts out.

The next move is up to the White House.  Nobody expects a holiday-weekend news release to end the matter, but it will be the start of what could be a long process.  "Everyone is going to have follow-up questions," says Issa.  "And I'm a patient man."
"Did You Plug The Hole In Your Story Yet, Daddy?"
According to the latest bullsh!t flowing from the Obama White House, Obama’s chief of staff, Rhambo, 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.  Sestak said no and went on to win last week’s Pennsylvania Democratic primary against Senator Arlen Specter.

Robert F. Bauer, the White House counsel and Obama's eligibility lawyer, has concluded that this ridiculous cover story -- offering an appointment to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board -- did not violate laws prohibiting government employees from promising employment as a reward for political activity because the position being offered was unpaid.

Sestak, a retired three-star admiral and two-term House member could not serve on the board while still serving in Congress.   Positions on this board may only be filled by private sector individuals.  Besides, no one would give up a seat in Congress or a chance for a Senate seat for an "unpaid" position.  To say that is what the deal was insults the intelligence of anyone over the age of six.

So Clinton, who has refused comment, went to the White House on Thursday, to have lunch with Obama and get their stories straight.  After all, Obama had nothing to do with the offer (heavy sarcasm).  Now the question becomes, what is Clinton getting to cover Obama's lying butt?

Meanwhile, Sestak said his brother, Richard, had spoken with White House officials about the congressman's allegation -- undoubtedly to make sure the Sestak brothers were on board, and were familiar with the cover story.  Joe Sestak said, "They got ahold of my brother on his cell phone, and he spoke to the White House...about what's going to occur."

With that call, the conspirators' bogus cover story was released to the ObamaMedia, that dutifully whitewashed the entire affair.  The New York Times begins their coverage with this beauty -- "There doesn’t seem to be anything terribly unethical about the White House offer of an unpaid advisory position to Joe Sestak if he would bow out of the Pennsylvania Democratic primary" -- nothing to see here, move on!

As chief of staff and previously as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Emanuel has not been shy about trying to steer party nominations to those he considers the stronger candidates.  The White House under Emanuel has also leaned on Gov. David Paterson of New York to drop out of this year’s gubernatorial race, which he eventually did under a cloud of scandal.  Andrew Romanoff, challenging Sen. Michael Bennet in a Colorado primary, has said Emanuel’s deputy, Jim Messina, offered him a job to drop out.

All of which are probably, illegal as well.  In any case, there is the appearance of wrong-doing.  So by DC tradition we must have at least a "special counsel" to investigate -- oops! -- silly me -- that only happens when Republicans are in office -- think Valerie Plame.

By the way, here's the applicable law:

18 U.S.C. § 211 : US Code -- Section 211:  Acceptance or solicitation to obtain appointive public office

Whoever solicits or receives, either as a political contribution, or for personal emolument, any money or thing of value, in consideration of the promise of support or use of influence in obtaining for any person any appointive office or place under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

Whoever solicits or receives any thing of value in consideration of aiding a person to obtain employment under the United States either by referring his name to an executive department or agency of the United States or by requiring the payment of a fee because such person has secured such employment shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.  This section shall not apply to such services rendered by an employment agency pursuant to the written request of an executive department or agency of the United States.

Karl Rove said that one of two things is true -- you can’t have two things true.  One or the other is true.  Either Joe Sestak is lying and he was not offered a position in the administration in return for getting out of the primary.

Or, he’s telling the truth, in which case somebody inside the White House committed a felony.
Sestak Cover Story Starts To Unravel
Ed Lasky says crafting a cover story that is consistent with awkward facts is hard.  Did the best and the brightest miss this?  Sestak was not eligible to serve on the Intelligence Advisory Board.  Byron York of the Washington Examiner reports:

In a little-noticed passage Friday, the New York Times reported that Rep. Joe Sestak was not eligible for a place on the President's Intelligence Advisory Board, the job he was reportedly offered by former President Bill Clinton.  And indeed a look at the Board's website reveals this restriction:

The Board consists of not more than 16 members appointed by the President from among individuals who are not employed by the Federal Government.  Members are distinguished citizens selected from the national security, political, academic, and private sectors.

As a sitting member of Congress, Sestak was not eligible for the job. [....]
The statement from White House counsel Robert Bauer did not specifically mention the intelligence board, but speaking to reporters Friday, Sestak said of his conversation with Clinton, "At the time, I heard the words 'presidential board,' and that's all I heard...I heard 'presidential board,' and I think it was intel."  In addition, the Times reported that "people briefed on the matter said one option was an appointment" to the intelligence board.  But the White House could not legally have placed Sestak on the board.
An already implausible story has become much harder to believe.
The White House Offered Me Three Jobs
Allahpundit says not only does Romanoff name names -- as the Denver Post originally reported, it was indeed deputy chief of staff Jim Messina who contacted him about dropping out -- but he’s actually released Messina’s e-mail from last year describing the jobs they had in mind for him.  The one key omission?  Any acknowledgment by Romanoff that he himself lied to the Post when initially asked whether anyone had offered him a position.

U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff acknowledged tonight that he discussed three possible jobs with the deputy chief of staff of the Obama administration -- all contingent upon a decision by Romanoff not to challenge U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.

Romanoff said none of the jobs was formally offered, but said the only reason they were discussed with Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina was if Romanoff stayed out of the Senate race.

"Mr. Messina also suggested three positions that might be available to me were I not pursuing the Senate race," Romanoff wrote in a statement.  "He added that he could not guarantee my appointment to any of these positions.  At no time was I promised a job, nor did I request Mr. Messina’s assistance in obtaining one."

Here’s the full text of Romanoff’s statement, together with the description of the available jobs.  Is Messina guilty of a crime for having made this kinda sorta offer, even without any formal "promise"?  Let’s see:

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.

I think we can get this one to the jury!  Seriously, though, I don’t want Messina charged, partly because he was obviously acting at Rahm Emanuel’s behest (no deputy COS would be authorized to bribe a senate candidate on his own initiative, I assume) and partly because I’m sure this really is D.C. business as usual for both parties.  The point of bringing up the statute again and again is simply to remind people that it’s the same sort of unrealistic "good government" aspiration that Captain HopenChange used to such cynical effect during the campaign and which he’s now happily willing to violate in the most flagrant ways.  Remember when he promised to put Congress’s health-care deliberations on C-SPAN?  That was pure garbage aimed at idealistic young voters, which he duly abandoned as soon as he was elected save for that "health-care summit" dog-and-pony show earlier this year.  Frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t include this angle in his campaign platform: "We won’t deny primary voters a choice with dirty deals!"  sounds like precisely the sort of pap he was pushing at his nomination speech in front of the Temple of Zeus or whatever.  Although, to be completely fair, I wonder in hindsight how many lefties really bought it or even cared whether he’d keep his "Change" promises or not.  The point was to win an election and that mission was accomplished.  Who cares if he’s turned out to be every inch the Chicago politician that he is?

As for the politics of Romanoff putting out this statement, I agree with Ben Smith:  This sure looks like a middle finger towards the White House, aimed at casting his primary opponent, Michael Bennet, as the puppet of a very cynical political machine.  No wonder Joe Sestak’s suddenly ducking joint appearances with The One.
Obama Knew About Quid Pro Quo Job Plot
One of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s top aides testified that he believed Barack Obama knew about Blagojevich's maneuvers to get a Cabinet post in exchange for appointing a longtime Obama friend to Obama’s U.S. Senate post, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

John Harris, Blagojevich's former chief of staff, voiced the belief Wednesday during the former governor's corruption trial in Chicago.

Three days after the Nov. 4, 2008, Blagojevich told Harris was sure that Obama knew he wanted to exchange perks, according to the Sun-Times report.

In explaining a recorded phone call, Harris said, "The president understands that the governor would be willing to make the appointment of Valerie Jarrett as long as he gets what he's asked for...  The governor gets the Cabinet appointment he's asked for."

In court Thursday, those at the trial heard an FBI tape in which Blagojevich became bitter when told that Obama would give him thanks -- but nothing else -- for naming an Obama favorite to the Senate, according to The Associated Press.

"They're not willing to give me anything but appreciation," Blagojevich is heard saying glumly on tape.  Jurors also heard his voice as he punctuated his remark, "(Expletive) them."

Naturally, Obama is not accused of any wrongdoing in the Blagojevich case, in which the former governor has pleaded not guilty to charges of scheming to sell the Senate seat and racketeering.  He's being protected.

In another Chicago newspaper’s story on Harris’ testimony, a Tribune blog reported that Harris said he was in his Springfield office on Nov. 12, 2008, when U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who was to become Obama’s chief of staff, called about possibilities to fill Obama's Senate seat.

During that conversation, Emanuel told Harris that Jarrett, a longtime Obama family friend, would not be interested in the seat because she was taking a White House job, the Tribune reported.

All of the progressive talking heads say corrupting the system is no big deal because everybody does it.

Can you use that as a defense in court?  I don't think it will work.  So why does it work in this case.

Oh, I remember, Obama can do no wrong.  He's Mr. Special.
Senator Wants Answers About Obama Nominee
Jim McElhatton says the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee is pressing for details about a $940,000 bonus paid by Citigroup after it was bailed out by taxpayers to a former executive who now is Obama's nominee to oversee the federal budget.

In a letter to the Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Friday, Sen. Charles Grassley said he was disappointed by Treasury's disappointment to prevent payment of wasteful bonuses and severance payments to executives at banks that had been bailed out by the federal government.  He specifically cited the case of Obama's nominee to the lead the Office of Management and Budget, Jacob Lew, a former Citigroup executive who joined the State Department as a deputy secretary in January 2009.

The Washington Times reported earlier this week that in addition to a previously disclosed $1.1 million compensation packaged for 2008, Lew reported in a new ethics filing that he also received a $940,000 bonus from Citigroup after the company took a federal bailout and days before he joined the Obama Administration.

"Regardless of whether the payment to Mr. Lew, and others like him, was 'grandfathered' or 'permitted by the rules in place at the time', were they contrary to the public interest?" Mr. Grassley asked in the letter.

He also singled out the case of an AIG executive who received nearly $1.4 million after being fired and after the company was bailed out.

The White House declined to comment on Lew's compensation when contacted by The Times earlier this week.

"Jack Lew has dedicated two decades to public service," White House spokeswoman Moria Mack wrote in an e-mail.  "He has served with distinction in two Administrations and in Congress, and has precisely the kind of experience we need at OMB at this critical juncture."

Administration officials and many members of Congress have expressed outrage about big bonuses paid out to Wall Street executives working for firms that received a federal bailout.

So, Lew's stewardship drives Citigroup into bankruptcy, and White House spokeswoman Moria Mack believes Lew "has precisely the kind of experience we need at OMB at this critical juncture."
Obama Buying More Union Votes

ChrisBanescu.com blog says that Obama has pledged more of your money to protect the unions and secure their vote.  The administration demanded and got $26 billion taxpayer dollars to spare 300,000 teachers and other public workers from the unemployment lines.


The hundreds of billions of taxpayer money already spent by Obama and the Democrats since 2009 to pay off their union supporters was apparently not enough.  Despite giving $100 billion in new funding to the Department of Education (DOE), courtesy of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, in addition to the $25 billion bailout that saved the GM and Chrysler auto union workers, more is needed to thank them for their continuing support and unquestioning loyalty.


The Senate passed the $26 billion bailout measure last week and the House approved it on Tuesday with overwhelming Democrat support.  Obama is expected to sign it quickly.  The additional spending is partially paid for by reducing food stamps benefits to the poor.


The $26,000,000,000 required to protect 300,000 union jobs, works out to roughly $86,666 per job.  This is an amazingly generous payoff to union workers, considering the average $56,100 yearly salaries of Americans working in the private sector.


Actually, much of this money is to be used in November's election to prop up the socialists in the Congress, but it's still coming from you, the taxpayer.

Obama: Bought And Paid For

Bestselling investigative reporter Charles Gasparino’s latest tome Bought and Paid For: The Unholy Alliance Between Barack Obama and Wall Street commences not with a scene from the much-ballyhooed first one hundred days of the new Administration, but at a hush-hush 2007 pow-wow at Johnny’s Half Shell in Washington, D.C. between then-Senator Barack Obama and executives from Wall Street’s top firms -- Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns -- which went so swimmingly the only warm fuzzy it lacked was the ghost of Humphrey Bogart intoning, "Barry, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."


From there the Fox Business Network senior correspondent and Daily Beast columnist lays out in gobstopping detail just how well both sides have since profited from this extended dalliance, combining fiery outsider indignation with hard-won insider knowledge, narrative prowess, and a true knack for the telling anecdote -- disgraced Bear Stearns hedge fund manager Warren Spector spending his days knocking on Florida doors as a volunteer Obama campaign worker and nights bedded down at luxury hotels while his preferred candidate ceaselessly derides Republicans as the party of Wall Street is but one among many doozies.


Bought and Paid For is, in short, required reading for anyone interested in the obscured behind the scenes machinations of the economic maelstrom we currently find ourselves mired in.  Gasparino was recently kind enough to speak with TAS about his book.


Read the interview here . . .

Ambassador Oprah
Patrick Gavin says that when POLITICO interviewed biographer Kitty Kelley on the heels of her recent book about talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, she told us that she expects F.O.O. ("Friend of Oprah") Barack Obama to appoint Winfrey as an ambassador at some point.

"Barack Obama is going to give her something," said Kelley, who cited as possibilities a global ambassadorship, or Winfrey perhaps serving as a member of a U.S. delegation attending Nelson Mandela's funeral when he passes.  (Kelley’s other prediction was that Winfrey would be honored at the Kennedy Center Honors ... a prediction that did come true.)

Parade magazine pontificates further in its most recent Sunday edition, which features an interview with Winfrey.

"If Colin Powell had his way, Oprah Winfrey might have been an U.S. ambassador," writes Parade.  "The talk show icon recently told Parade magazine a story of when she was sitting at Colin Powell's table five years ago for the Kennedy Center Honors, in which the former secretary of state said they were in the ambassadors room.  'And I said, Gee, this is really -- this is lovely.  An ambassador, I think that would be really great.'  He goes, 'Name your country, baby, name your country.'  I just laughed.  He goes, 'No, seriously, do you want to be an ambassador?  'I go: 'No, really, I was just -- it’s just a thought.  I was just saying it’s a nice room!'"

How about Ambassador to Somalia or Zimbabwe?
Obama Bribes The Washington Post And CBS
Warner Todd Huston says, that in a blow to the autonomy of the media, it has been discovered that employees of two Old Media outlets are the happy beneficiaries of hundreds of thousands of federal dollars from an ObamaCare slush fund.  CBS and the Washington Post have both taken large payments from Obama’s Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP), with the Post getting $573,217 while CBS has received a whopping $722,388.
Matthew Boyle reported that the news of the media giants taking federal cash was revealed at a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week.

The question here becomes one of disclosure.  Will CBS and the Washington Post put disclaimers on any story they relate about ObamaCare?  After all, if we see a positive story about ObamaCare from the Washington Post or CBS might we assume the stories are so positive because employees of those media organizations know they could be the beneficiaries of thousands of dollars in federal cash?  Might we assume that these Old Media employees might fear that any negative story might put that largess at risk?

Boyle quotes Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, on that very issue:

"It is fine with me if they continue covering the ObamaCare debate.  When NBC used to cover energy issues, they identified themselves as a subsidiary of General Electric. CBS and Washington Post just have to disclose that they are subsidiaries of the Obama Administration."

So what about it, Old Media?  Are you going to tell your viewers and readers that you are quietly getting fistfuls of cash from the very government you are claiming to "report" on?  And what about that cynical and detached demeanor you always claim to be employing in the doing?
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