Impeaching Obama?

I have no idea who Jonathan Bernstein is but today he has guest written a column for Ezra Klein in the Washington Post suggesting that if the GOP regains the House come November that then impeachment proceedings against President Barack Obama are likely. As evidence, Mr. Bernstein cites comments made by uber conservative radical Rep. Darrell Issa of California over the Sestak brouhaha.

"It's very clear that allegation is one that everyone from Arlen Spector to Dick Morris has said is in fact a crime, and could be impeachable," said Rep. Issa, who is threatening to file an ethics compliant if Rep. Sestak doesn't provide more details about the alleged job offer.

Congressman Issa, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, also wants the Justice Department to name a special prosecutor to investigate whether the White House broke the law over the alleged job offer to Rep. Sestak in return for his dropping out of the Pennsylvania Senate primary. I have to ask why do we need a special prosecutor if the venerable Dick Morris has already told us a crime has been committed?

In all seriousness, I must be missing something because I am not sure I care whether Joe Sestak was offered a job to drop out of the Pennsylvania primary and I wholly unaware how such an offer, if made, broke any laws. It perhaps does not speak well of the Obama Administration ethically but I'd bet my bottom dollar that this trail would lead back to Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. 

[UPDATE]The Hill has a related story noting the Congressman Issa has sent an email to his supporters with the subject line "The Sestak Affair - Obama's Watergate?"

The campaign e-mail says the allegations would amount to three felony charges of bribery and corruption.

"Congressman Sestak has continued to repeat his story whenever asked without varying from the original version. The White House however has arrogantly and wrongly assumed that they can sweep this matter under the rug," Issa, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, says in the e-mail.

"This may be the way business is done in Chicago, but it’s not the way things are done in our nation’s capitol [sic] and I am intent on getting to the bottom of this."

The congressman noted that Sestak has otherwise been mum on the details of the job offer, but added that it is "widely speculated" that Secretary of the Navy was the job in question.

"Joe Sestak realized that he made a mistake by letting the cat out of the bag. It’s a mistake that might end his bid for U.S. Senate and damage President Barack Obama," Issa continues. "He doesn’t want to make things worse than they are, so he’s sticking to his story to maintain his own credibility, but will not cooperate with investigators to bring charges against the guilty White House official.

"If he’s telling the truth, an investigation must take place and justice must be served. If he’s lying, then he should immediately resign the race for Senate."

Justice must be served? This isn't about the rule of law but about Rep. Issa seeking to destroy the Obama Presidency come hell or high water.

Tags: Obama Administration, Rep. Darrell Issa, impeachment (all tags)

Comments

14 Comments

I think this is the law they are saying Obama broke
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.
http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/18/I/11/211
by jeopardy 2010-05-27 04:46PM | 1 recs
well, i could have sworn...

that you could only get impeached for lying about sex !!

 

but I suppose being impeached for making a job offer... is just as reasonable !!

by Ravi Verma 2010-05-27 04:53PM | 1 recs
RE: well, i could have sworn...

lying about sex or being a Democrat.

 

by jeopardy 2010-05-27 05:18PM | 0 recs
Darrell Issa plays the useful idiot again

What a tool.

by desmoinesdem 2010-05-27 05:25PM | 1 recs
RE: Darrell Issa plays the useful idiot again

"useful idiot"? I don't think so. A quick Google of "Darrell Issa Obama" shows that he's been looking for a Obama's Lewinsky for a while now.

by 1arryb 2010-05-27 06:01PM | 0 recs
I'm a sporting man
It perhaps does not speak well of the Obama Administration ethically but I'd bet my bottom dollar that this trail would lead back to Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

I'll wager a cup of coffee that it was Messina.

by Bob Brigham 2010-05-27 07:01PM | 0 recs
RE: I'm a sporting man (I'm not)

Why Messina?

by Wordsmith 2010-05-27 10:19PM | 0 recs
If Republicans regain the House, he will be impeached

There is no question about that.  There will be two years of investigations into what happened with Rezko, what happened with Blagojevich, what happened with Sestak.  Anything that they can find.  Republicans hate Obama ten times more than they hated Clinton. 

It will not be "OK" if Republicans take the House.  They will destroy this President.  And Obama wont have the absolutely explosive and orgasmically good economy to pull him through that CLinton had. 

by Kent 2010-05-27 09:40PM | 0 recs
earthworx

Maybe you can get some lawyers to weigh in on this but I don't see how this is even remotely illegal. If the president offered Sestak a job, such as Naval Secretary, a job in which he is eminently qualified, how is that illegal? He can't be both a senator and NavSec so he isn't harmed. Nor is he being forced to take the job. Since he is qualified to hold the job the American citizens aren't harmed. This is just D.C. political horsetrading that's been done since the beginning of the republic. How many times have political rivals been offered jobs in an administration to get them to drop active campaigns? It's not like he was offered the job as a bribe or to keep quiet some illegal goings-on. ala Henderson/Ensign.

If I go to my employer and tell him I've been offered a job at another company and he counteroffers with a promotion or a raise to induce me to stay is he guilty of a crime? I think not.

by earthworx 2010-05-27 11:23PM | 0 recs
RE: earthworx

i posted the law above.

we don't know the fact of what happened. i doubt that the Obama admin. was stupid enough to be outright bribing him in explicit terms.

but if it happened the way the wingnuts (and perhaps Sestak) say, then it could be illegal.

by jeopardy 2010-05-28 11:02AM | 0 recs
RE: earthworx

The aforemention citation doesn't apply because bribery requires that an official be offered something of value as quid pro quo to performing an official act. Under no circumstances could either running for office or dropping a campaign for office be considered an official act.

It was recently disclosed that President Reagan offered CA Senator S.I. Hayakawa a job in his administration if he would drop his senatorial reelection campaign. At the time Reagan's daughter Maureen was one of Hayakawa's opponents for the seat. This was not considered illegal even though it could be argued that Reagan was using his official office to clear the field for his daughter, therefore under no circumstances could a job offer from the Obama administration to Sestak in order to save his safe congressional seat could be considered bribery. Again, Sestak was not required to perform an official act in order for the job offer.

by earthworx 2010-05-30 11:36PM | 0 recs
This is clueless stuff

The trading of political favors is not bribery, period.  "I'll vote for your bill if you vote for my bill."  "OMG, you just accepted something of value in exchange for your vote, BRIBERY!"  No.

The message has some salience with the general public only because the nuance of what is bribery and what isn't can be difficult to explain.  But every ethics expert who has weighed in, including conservatives, has agreed that it's ridiculous to call this illegal.

Let's be very clear about something: it is a virtual certainty that no one said, "Hey Sestak, you can have this job if you agree not to run."  The reason is that if he took the job, he automatically wouldn't be running.  So all anyone had to say was "Would you like this job?"  And if it's illegal to offer someone an administration job because you privately think it will benefit you politically, a lot of people are in trouble, all the way back to George Washington.  Heck, a lot of ambassadors buy their jobs for all intents and purposes, and it's still not a crime unless there's an actual quid pro quo.

The thing about this "scandal" is that very few people seem to care in the general public, even as the Beltway press goes nuts over it.  I'm not even sure if it is a big story in Pennsylvania.

by Steve M 2010-05-28 01:16AM | 0 recs
RE: This is clueless stuff

I think you have to keep in mind that there seems to be a big difference in the standards for convicting and imprisoning somebody and the one for impeaching a president from the Democratic Party.

There's a law on the books (arguably) about this, and it would be foolish to discount the possibility of the GOP stretching it like crazy to impeach Obama. What, you think that a GOP Congress would seek out and listen to an honest, unbiased legal analysis of the law and then apply it fairly?

by jeopardy 2010-05-28 11:08AM | 0 recs
more on the story

Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Penn.) was offered a prominent but uncompensated, advisory position -- in the national security/foreign policy area -- if he would drop out of the Pennsylvania Senate primary race, a source with knowledge of the exchange said during a briefing on Friday morning.

The offer was made by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel through a prominent intermediary -- former President Bill Clinton -- during the months of June and July of 2009. The White House initiated the conversation, which occurred over phone. It would have allowed Sestak to remain in the House of Representatives while advising the president...

"By virtue of his career in public service, including distinguished military service, Congressman Sestak was viewed to be highly qualified to hold a range of advisory positions in which he could, while holding his House seat, have additional responsibilities of considerable potential interest to him and value to the Executive Branch," a memo detailing the administration's findings reads (READ THE FULL MEMO BELOW).

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/28/joe-sestak-bill-clinton-s_n_593299.html

by jeopardy 2010-05-28 12:31PM | 0 recs

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