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Press Release Published: May 28, 2010

Issa, Smith and Judiciary Republicans Call for FBI Investigation in Sestak Scandal

WASHINGTON, D.C.— House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA), Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas), and Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee today sent a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller urging that the FBI immediately initiate an investigation into allegations that White House officials bribed Representative Joe Sestak with promises of a senior Administration position in exchange for his withdrawal from the Pennsylvania Senate primary.

In a report released today, the White House made no effort to deny that former President Bill Clinton questioned Rep. Sestak about a position at the urging of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Federal law prohibits the solicitation of certain public offices, promising government employment in exchange for political activity, and improper interference by Administration employees in political campaigns. Not surprisingly, the White House’s own report clears White House officials of wrongdoing.

“Assurances by the Obama White House that no laws were broken are like the Nixon White House promising it did nothing illegal in connection with Watergate.  Clearly, an independent investigation is necessary to determine once and for all what really happened.

“Because of the alleged involvement of high ranking Administration officials, any investigation into criminal activity by the White House should be spearheaded by the FBI.  Admissions that the White House intentionally sought to manipulate the outcome of a Democratic Senate Primary strike at the heart of our democracy.  Only a full criminal investigation can restore integrity to our election process.

Judiciary Committee Republicans also expressed concern about the apparent coordination between involved parties before the issuance of the White House report.

“We are equally concerned about steps taken by the White House leading up to the issuance of today’s report, including a meeting between former President Clinton and President Obama and reports that Rep. Sestak’s brother (and campaign manager) was consulted on the drafting of the White House report.  The apparent collusion between parties involved may constitute obstruction of justice.”

Judiciary Republicans requested that the FBI respond no later than June 11, 2010.