Monday, May 31, 2010

Another Republican Double Standard

It's politics. The Democrats and the Republicans both do it. It's politics!

Bill Clinton, on behalf of the White House Chief of Staff, offered Joe Sestak an unpaid position. According to a memorandum from the White House Counsel, President Clinton raised with Congressman Sestak "options of service on a Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board. Congressman Sestak declined the suggested alternatives, remaining committed to his Senate candidacy." The memorandum claims there was no impropriety.
We found that, as the Congressman has publicly and accurately stated, options for Executive Branch service were raised with him. Efforts were made in June and July of 2009 to determine whether Congressman Sestak would be interested in service on a Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board, which would avoid a divisive Senate primary, allow him to retain his seat in the House, and provide him with an opportunity for additional service to the public in a high-level advisory capacity for which he was highly qualified. The advisory positions discussed with Congressman Sestak, while important to the work of the Administration, would have been uncompensated.

It has been suggested that discussions of alternatives to the Senate campaign were improperly raised with the Congressman. There was no such impropriety. The Democratic Party leadership had a legitimate interest in averting a divisive primary fight and a similarly legitimate concern about the Congressman vacating his seat in the House. 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.
The Republicans and right wing pundits have jumped on this event to suggest several scenarios. They have claimed that President Obama hasn't fulfilled his promise of "transparency" and this just reflects a "politics as usual" administration. There are allegations that this "could be President Barack Obama's Watergate scandal." Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), even went so far as to say that, “This is punishable by prison. It is a felony, and this is exactly what President Obama campaigned against."

Watch a Fox discussion about the legality behind the Sestak offer.

Bill Crystal claims that this is "not politics as usual." As usual, Bill Crystal is wrong!

The Obama Administration White House Counsel notes that this happens all the time.
There have been numerous, reported instances in the past when prior Administrations — both Democratic and Republican, and motivated by the same goals — discussed alternative paths to service for qualified individuals also considering campaigns for public office. Such discussions are fully consistent with the relevant law and ethical requirements.
There have been several times when Republican administrations have asked candidates to drop out of a race. President Ronald Reagan, Vice President Dick Cheney and even Karl Rove have pursued this course of action.

In 1981, AP had the following story. President Ronald Reagan offered a job to Senator Hayakawa in order to "clear the field" for his daughter, Maureen to seek the Republican nomination for Senate.
Sen. S.I. Hayakawa on Wednesday spurned a Reagan administration suggestion that if he drops out of the crowded Republican Senate primary race in California, President Reagan would find him a job."
Hayakawa, who was seeking a second term at the time, was being urged by GOP officials to withdraw from the 1982 primary, a race that included, among others, Reps. Barry Goldwater Jr. & Bob Dornan, San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson, and First Daughter Maureen Reagan. The last thing the White House wanted was a split-conservative field that would end in the nomination of Rep. Pete McCloskey, a longtime anathema to the Right.

Hayakawa ultimately decided not to run for re-election. Wilson won the primary and was elected in November.arl Rove
In an April 19, 2001 Minneapolis Star Tribune article. Both Vice President Dick Cheney and Karl Rove urged Minnesota House Majority Leader Tim Pawlenty not to challenge St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman for the 2002 Republican nomination for U.S. Senate seat .
Minnesota House Majority Leader Tim Pawlenty said Wednesday that he won't run for the U.S. Senate in 2002, but only because Vice President Dick Cheney called him on his cell phone earlier in the morning and urged him not to challenge St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman for the Republican nomination.

Pawlenty's dramatic last-minute decision is the latest development in an extraordinary intervention by the White House and President Bush on behalf of Coleman, who was chairman of the Bush presidential campaign in the state.

The White House's intense interest in the race is a reflection of the 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate.

It may also signal a keen interest by Bush for Republicans to win the seat held by Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., who has been among the president's most severe critics.

On Tuesday night, White House political strategist Karl Rove called Pawlenty and urged him not to run. Pawlenty said he was still intending to begin an exploratory candidacy after the Rove call.

But the request from Cheney, which came as Pawlenty was returning from a dentist's office with his daughters, was impossible to resist.

"On behalf of the president and the vice president of the United States, [Cheney] asked that I not go forward. . . . For the good of the party, for the good of the effort [against Wellstone] I agreed not to pursue an exploratory campaign," Pawlenty said at a news conference.
At the White House, a spokesman for Bush confirmed that Cheney made the call, but he declined to elaborate.
Not only does Bill Crystal have a selective memory but so does Liz Cheney and Karl Rove.

Is Karl Rove guilty of 18 U.S.C. 595? Rove et al. are at least guilty of a Republican double standard.

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