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The White House and pay-for-play

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By Michelle Malkin  •  February 23, 2010 09:36 AM

Here’s another one for my bulging culture of corruption files, sponsored by the letter O. Via Jeffrey Lord at AmSpec:

A bombshell has just exploded in the 2010 elections.

For the second time in five months, the Obama White House is being accused — by Democrats — of offering high ranking government jobs in return for political favors. What no one is reporting is that this is a violation of federal law that can lead to prison time, a fine or both, according to Title 18, Chapter 11, Section 211 of the United States Code.

The jobs in question? Secretary of the Navy and a position within the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The favor requested in return? Withdrawal from Senate challenges to two sitting United States Senators, both Democrats supported by President Obama. The Senators are Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania and Michael Bennet in Colorado.

On Friday, Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak, the Democrat challenging Specter for re-nomination, launched the controversy by accusing the Obama White House of offering him a federal job in exchange for his agreeing to abandon his race against Specter.

In August of 2009, the Denver Post reported last September, Deputy White House Chief of Staff Jim Messina “offered specific suggestions” for a job in the Obama Administration to Colorado Democrat Andrew Romanoff, a former state House Speaker, if Romanoff would agree to abandon a nomination challenge to U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. Bennet was appointed to the seat upon the resignation of then-Senator Ken Salazar after Salazar was appointed by Obama to serve as Secretary of the Interior. According to the Post, the specific job mentioned was in the U.S. Agency for International Development. The Post cited “several sources who described the communication to The Denver Post.”

The paper also describes Messina as “President Barack Obama’s deputy chief of staff and a storied fixer in the White House political shop.” Messina’s immediate boss is White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

Sestak is standing by his story. Romanoff refused to discuss it with the Denver paper. In both instances the White House has denied the offers took place.

We expect nothing less from Chicago-on-the-Potomac.

On a related note: Check out the latest report on corruption in C(r)ook County, Illinois.

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