Obama: Response Coming ‘Shortly’ on Alleged Sestak Job Offer

Posted May 27, 2010 at 1:56pm

President Barack Obama said Thursday that there will be “an official response shortly” regarding allegations that the White House broke the law by trying to bribe Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) to drop out of last week’s Senate Democratic primary against Sen. Arlen Specter.

“There will be an official response shortly on the Sestak matter,” Obama told reporters during a White House press conference on the Gulf Coast oil spill. “I mean shortly. I don’t mean weeks or months. … I can assure the public that nothing improper took place.”

The allegations stem from a February TV interview in which Sestak said the White House had offered him a high-ranking federal job — many thought it to be secretary of the Navy — if he dropped plans to challenge Specter. Sestak, a former Navy admiral, said he refused. He has been tight-lipped on the matter since making his comments; several administration officials have said nothing improper transpired.

Attorney General Eric Holder earlier this month refused to comment on the issue during testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He said only that he has “great faith” in the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, which would make the call on whether to pursue such an investigation.

Meanwhile, the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have called on Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the allegations, and at least two Democratic Members have asked the White House to provide an explanation on the matter.