I got involved in journalism back in the 1970s after being inspired by the Watergate work of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.
When the Senate began investigating Richard Nixon’s involvement in the scandal, the key question was: “What did the president know and when did he know it?”
It’s time to start asking that question, again, about a felony apparently committed within his administration. If Barack Obama even knew about it, we’re talking about an impeachable offense.
The allegation is not being made by a political adversary, per se. It is being made by a Democratic House member, Rep. Joe Sestak, who says he was offered a job in the Obama administration in exchange for dropping out of the Pennsylvania senatorial primary race against Sen. Arlen Specter. Sestak says he spurned the offer, stayed in the race and defeated Specter.
If he’s telling the truth, and can prove it, a very serious crime has been committed by someone in the Obama administration – one that could lead right to the president’s door.
Of course, this calls for an independent investigation. A probe of this kind cannot be directed by anyone within the Obama administration. It cannot be conducted by the Democratic Congress in a critical election year. It requires the appointment of a special counsel with full subpoena power. It also requires some transparency and answers from a regime that has pledged to be the most open administration in history.
Sestak has repeatedly told the same story. Yet, so far, Attorney General Eric Holder has refused to appoint a special counsel. And White House press secretary Robert Gibbs would only say “nothing inappropriate” happened.
Either Sestak is lying or something very inappropriate happened – something illegal, a violation of the federal code, Section 18 USC 600 and Section 18 USC 595.
“I’ve said all I’m going to say on the matter,” Sestak told CNN this week. “Others need to explain whatever their role might be. I have a personal accountability; I should have for my role in the matter, which I talked about. Beyond that, I’ll let others talk about their role.”
Back in the 1970s when Nixon was facing possible impeachment charges that led to his resignation, this was called “stonewalling.” Yet, today the press and the political establishment that was so eager to see justice then seems bemusedly tacit and accepting of official non-answers.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has been most outspoken about the case: “The bottom line is all fingers are being pointed back to the White House. This Chicago-style politicking is an assault on our democracy and is downright criminal. President Obama faces a critical choice – he can either live up to his rhetoric of transparency and accountability by disclosing who inside his White House tried to manipulate an election by bribing a U.S. congressman, or he can allow his administration to continue this stonewalling and relinquish the mantle of change and transparency he is so fond of speaking on.
“Could the reason why Congressman Joe Sestak refuses to name names is because the very people who tried to bribe him are now his benefactors? For months, Sestak has repeatedly said without equivocation that the White House illegally offered him a federal job in exchange for dropping out of the race. Was Joe Sestak embellishing what really happened, or does he have firsthand knowledge of the White House breaking the law? If what he said is the truth, Joe Sestak has a moral imperative to come forward and expose who within the Obama administration tried to bribe him.”
Even Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, has called on the White House to answer the charges.
Here’s what the law says: “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 not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”
Once again, the Obama administration is faced with the direct challenge: Are we a nation governed by the rule of law or the rule of men?
It’s clear where Obama stands. Now will any mighty men and women of valor rise to the occasion to ensure justice is done?