Judiciary’s Smith Expects Vote on Job Offer Resolution

Posted June 22, 2010 at 3:34pm

Updated: June 22, 7:33 p.m.

A Republican resolution demanding details about the White House’s role in job offers that allegedly were made to Democratic Senate candidates in Colorado and Pennsylvania is slated for a vote Wednesday in the House Judiciary Committee.

The panel will consider and vote on the resolution at its morning markup, said Kim Smith, a spokeswoman for ranking member Lamar Smith. The Texas Republican and Constitution Subcommittee ranking member Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) introduced the resolution last week.

“We will have widespread support of the resolution from GOP members,” Kim Smith said in an e-mail. She said Democrats would be forced to vote “on whether to hold the administration accountable on its promises of transparency and change.”

Congressional Republicans have been fired up over separate claims by Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) and former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff that the White House dangled administration posts to try to dissuade them from mounting Senate primary challenges to Democratic incumbents.

GOP lawmakers have requested documents pertaining to the alleged job offers and called for a special prosecutor to probe the issue.

“If the administration has nothing to hide, why not provide Congress with the requested documents and restore integrity to our election process?” Lamar Smith plans to ask in his opening statement. “It’s time for the White House to make good on its promise of transparency and come clean about what other elections Administration officials may have sought to influence.”

The resolution would give Attorney General Eric Holder two weeks to give to the House copies of “any document, record, memo, correspondence, or other communication” from within the Justice Department related to “any guidance or recommendations” Justice officials might have given White House officials about appointments they could offer to encourage a candidate to withdraw from an election. The resolution also demands information about “any inquiry, investigation, or review” the Justice Department might have conducted regarding such discussions.

The White House acknowledged last month that former President Bill Clinton, acting at the White House’s behest, suggested Sestak could snag an unpaid presidential advisory board post in exchange for forgoing a challenge to Republican-turned-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter. Sestak bested Specter in Pennsylvania’s May 18 primary.

Romanoff said June 2 that Deputy White House Chief of Staff Jim Messina called him in September 2009 and “suggested three positions that might be available” were he to drop his plans to mount a primary challenge to Sen. Michael Bennet. The White House disputes that Romanoff was offered a job.