- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Republicans and Democrats pressured the White House on Tuesday to disclose whether it offered a federal job to Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak if he would drop his Senate primary challenge against Democratic incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter.

Mr. Sestak has said repeatedly that he rejected an offer to join the Obama administration if he abandoned the race against Mr. Specter, who had switched from Republican to Democrat last year. Mr. Sestak captured the party nomination last Tuesday, defeating the five-term Mr. Specter. Republicans have criticized the offer, saying it was grossly inappropriate and potentially illegal, and they’re demanding an explanation from the White House.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday that “nothing inappropriate” took place. He declined to say if Mr. Sestak was offered a job, but he did say White House lawyers and others have looked into the matter.

In Blue Bell, Pa., Republican candidate Pat Toomey said Tuesday that Mr. Sestak should clarify what job the White House offered him to drop a primary challenge. Mr. Toomey said he prefers to focus on issues, but “it would be helpful” if Mr. Sestak cleared the air about the job offer.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele and the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, said the White House needs to answer questions.

Sestak campaign spokesman Jonathon Dworkin says his candidate’s opponents are spending too much time trying to create a distraction.