The Republican National Committee charged Tuesday that Rep. Joe Sestak and the White House have provided contradictory explanations of former President Clinton's controversial attempt to persuade Sestak to drop his Democratic primary bid against Sen. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania.
In an e-mail titled "Here We Go Again: Once Again, the White House and Joe Sestak Are on Different Pages," Republicans point out apparent discrepancies between Sestak's account and those offered by the White House.
The RNC e-mail noted that repeatedly Sestak stated in his Friday news conference that he had only been contacted once by former Clinton about being appointed to a nonpaid advisory post in return for dropping out of the primary.
"Sir, were there other calls or communications, any other positions—" a reporter asked.
"No," Sestak replied, "just that one phone call."
Sestak reiterated that assertion at least three times.
Yet White House Counsel Robert F. Bauer's May 28 memorandum on the matter indicates there were multiple attempts to persuade Sestak over a period of two months.
"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," Bauer stated.
On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs confirmed that account, telling reporters: "Whatever is in the memo is accurate."
The RNC e-mail cited the contradiction as further evidence "the White House is incapable of policing itself."
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, told Fox News recently that he and 13 other Republican congressmen have sent a letter to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller asking him to open an investigation of the job offer.
"It's not really up to White House to decide whether they did anything wrong or not," Smith said.
The Wall Street Journal added its voice to those calling for an investigation in its weekend edition, stating: "The [Rahm] Emanuel to Clinton to Sestak job offer still needs a scrub under oath by the Justice Department and the relevant Congressional committees."
According to 18 U.S.C. 592, it is a violation of the law for public employees to use their positions for "the purpose of interfering with, or affecting" a candidate's bid to serve in the U.S. Senate.
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