Senior White House advisers asked former President Bill Clinton to talk to Joe Sestak about whether he was serious about running for Senate, and to feel out whether he'd be open to other alternatives, according to sources familiar with the situation.
But the White House maintains that the Clinton-Sestak discussions were informal, according to the sources. The White House, under pressure to divulge the specifics of its interactions with Sestak, will release a formal statement later today outlining their version of events, including Clinton's involvement. Read on...
According to a source familiar with the situation, the White House asked Clinton and his adviser, lawyer Doug Band, to suggest to Sestak an unpaid position on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
... Here's the official response from the White House counsel on what happened. The White House says, as noted above, that they asked Clinton to suggest to Sestak an unpaid advisory board position.
The White House's response says no Secretary of the Navy gig was discussed, and that this sort of offer has happened numerous times in past administrations.
Also: Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, says there's no "there" here. This couldn't be bribery, she says, because the position was unpaid.
Beyond that, Sloan adds, the Federal bribery statute requires an offer of something of value in exchange for an official act. Sloan says that not running for Senate would not constitute an official act in any case, even if a paid position were offered in return for dropping a run for office. And: Sam Stein has more new detail, including the interesting fact that the White House looked into this and reached its conclusion over two months ago, making one wonder why they didn't put this to rest earlier.
I was thinking the same thing. I don't understand why they let this wind out of control for so long.