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Issa, Judiciary Republicans Ask FBI to Investigate Sestak Matter

“This is punishable by prison,” Issa said. “It is a felony, and this is exactly what President Obama campaigned against, even the appearance of. In this case, there is a huge difference between rewarding a political supporter with an ambassadorship, which is done all the time and is legal, and a quid pro quo in which you make a promise for something — illegal — or the distorting of an election.”

Although Sestak’s case is the only one in which impropriety is alleged, the White House has not been shy about interceding on behalf of incumbents to stave off primary challenges.

No offers were put on the table last May when Emanuel met with Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), who at that time was contemplating a bid against incumbent Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Israel said Friday.

“There was never any discussion, hint, intimation or suggestion of any job or position,” Israel said. “Not at any time.”

Emanuel called the meeting as a courtesy to inform him “as a friend” that Obama would support and campaign on behalf of Gillibrand if there were a primary.

Israel said Emanuel encouraged him to “make whatever decision” he wanted “but understand that the president’s going to be supporting the incumbent.”

Israel said Emanuel’s message was “discouraging” and that it factored into his decision not to do battle against Gillibrand, but that he did not fault the White House’s approach.

“It was a courtesy,” Israel said. “I think it was appropriate. It was sure better than me waking up one morning and turning on the television and seeing the president campaigning for my opponent.”

John Stanton contributed to this report.

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