Alexa

White House used Clinton in political move

White House used Clinton in political move

The Obama administration looked to quiet clamor about its intervention in a Democratic primary Friday as it released an internal review finding no improper conduct, while acknowledging that it used former President Bill Clinton to try to persuade a candidate to drop out of the race.
The White House's report, however, was unlikely to end Republican questions about congressman Joe Sestak's repeated comments that he had received an offer to join the Obama administration if he dropped out of the Pennsylvania Senate race.
Sestak declined the offer. He defeated the incumbent, Arlen Specter, who had switched from Republican to Democrat last year at the White House's urging, in the May 18 Democratic primary.
Republicans have called the administration's offer improper and possibly illegal. Some have asked for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate.
The issue has allowed Republicans to try to score ethical points against Democrats ahead of the November elections in which they are expected to gain seats.
White House Counsel Robert Bauer's two-page report said no one in the administration discussed the offer with Sestak.
Instead, the report said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel enlisted Clinton's help as a go-between with Sestak. Clinton agreed to raise the offer of a seat on a presidential advisory board or another executive board if Sestak dropped his bid, "which would avoid a divisive Senate primary," the report said.
Sestak could remain in the House of Representatives while serving on a board.
Emanuel and Sestak both worked in the White House when Clinton was president and both remain close with their former boss.
Bauer, in the report, argued that previous Democratic and Republican administration "motivated by the same goals _ discussed alternative paths to service for qualified individuals also considering campaigns for public office." The report said such actions aren't illegal nor unethical.
Sestak's spokesman had no immediate comment on Friday.
At a White House news conference on Thursday, Obama told reporters a full accounting would be forthcoming.
"I can assure the public that nothing improper took place," he said.
Two top Democrats _ party chief Tim Kaine and Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate _ said during the week that the White House and Sestak needed to address the questions. So, too, did Sestak's Republican challenger in Pennsylvania, former Rep. Pat Toomey.