Notes from North of 49ºN

The above AP video shows Pennsylvania House of Representatives member Joe Sestak, who beat White House supported Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary talking about an unpaid job offer discussed by Bill Clinton last year. The skinny is that Rahm Emanuel greenlighted Bill Clinton offering Joe Sestak an unpaid position of influence in consideration for not running against Specter in the 2010 primary. Sestak declined. This wasn’t enough for Republican Rep. Darrell Issa or pundit Liz Cheney. Issa is claiming that this will be Obama’s Watergate and citing 18 U.S.C. § 201 on bribery and wants an investigation. {As an aside, Issa was instrumental in the 2003 California Gubernatorial recall election that replaced Gray Davis with Arnold Schwartzenegger}. Cheney wants the same, accusing the White House of a smokescreen::

YouTube Preview Image

The U.S.C. bribery statute clarifies what consists of a bona-fide bribe, which hinges on the influence of an “official act”. What is an official act? Here is is:

“the term ‘official act’ means any decision or action on any question, matter, cause, suit, proceeding or controversy, which may at any time be pending, or which may by law be brought before any public official, in such official’s official capacity, or in such official’s place of trust or profit.” [*]

The idea is to limit influence on law, not a decision to run for office. While I’m not a fan of Emanuel or these types of tactics, I see this as politics-as-usual and within the scope of the law. I think pressing this one is a lost cause and more blowing smoke, but it may well be “run-it-up-the-flagpole-and-see-who-salutes” season. Happy Memorial Day.

And they call Toronto The Big Smoke.

Song:: Ben Folds Five-‘Smoke’

Twitterversion:: [blog – #ThickCulture] Sestak-Clinton-@WhiteHouse controversy. Whose smokescreen is it anyway or much ado about nothing? @Prof_K