- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 30, 2010

Rep. Darrell Issa, California Repubican, repeated calls Sunday for an independent investigation of whether the White House offered a job an enticement to persuade a Senate candidate to end his campaign.

Mr. Issa, speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” said he wants the FBI or the Justice Department to investigate the White House’s discussions with Rep. Joe Sestak, Pennsylvania Democrat, about dropping his successful primary bid to unseat Sen. Arlen Specter, who had support from President Obama.

“If they offered a job, it’s a crime,” Mr. Issa said. “It’s clearly a crime. What the White House is now saying happened falls under the statute.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, who also was on the show, said the Republicans were attempting to criminalize “hard-knuckle politics.”

“This is why people think Washington is crazy,” the Democratic governor said. “This happens all the time.”

Asked whether the incident contradicts Mr. Obama’s campaign promises of a more transparent and more ethical Washington, Mr. Rendell said the presdident promised change, but “he didn’t say he was going to change everything about everything.”

“Has he changed hard-knuckle politics? No,” he said.

The president on Thursday said there was “nothing improper” about White House’s outreach to Mr. Sestak, who was contacted by former President Bill Clinton on behalf of the administration. Mr. Sestak said he was offered a senior-level job if he dropped his primary challenge against Mr. Specter.

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