The Department of Justice should examine the White House dealmaking in Senate primary races with "an impartial referee" who can sort out the facts, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Saturday.
The agency should assign "a special investigator or an independent counsel, who can sort out the facts and answer the burning question — what did the White House offer ... who authorized the offer, who else knew about it and what was the expected trade-off for accepting the offer?" Steele said in his party's weekly radio and Internet address.
President Barack Obama's dealmaking falls far short of his promise to run the most open administration in history, Steele said.
"It's one thing to keep that promise when you think it'll help you politically," Steele said. "The real test of a man's word is if he keeps it when it's inconvenient, embarrassing or potentially damaging. On this test, the president and his people have failed."
The White House recently acknowledged discussing possible jobs with senatorial candidates Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania and Andrew Romanoff in Colorado.
The first case involved an unsuccessful bid to the clear the Pennsylvania primary path for Republican-turned-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter. The White House acknowledged last Friday that it had turned to former President Bill Clinton to urge Sestak to stay in the House of Representatives and accept an unpaid presidential advisory post rather than challenge Specter. Sestak defeated Specter in the May 18 primary.
The White House acknowledged Thursday that it had contacted Romanoff, a former Colorado House speaker, about possible administration jobs in hopes that he would not challenge Sen. Michael Bennet in the state's Aug. 10 Senate primary. Both the White House and Romanoff said there was no job offer, and Romanoff remains in the race.
The White House has said it broke no laws, and its defenders have argued that it's sometimes necessary to avoid messy primary fights.
Steele wasn't buying it.
"From day one of this current flap involving Congressman Joe Sestak and now Andrew Romanoff, the White House efforts to deny, obfuscate, and mislead have only served to raise suspicions even further," Steele said.
"Now we know that this is only part of a larger pattern of back-room, Chicago-style politics," said Steele.
GOP weekly address: http://tinyurl.com/2utgceh
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