It might be 2010 but because the Obama White House has taken another page out of the Clinton White House play book, it feels a lot like it is 1998.
This latest episode features the Congressman Joe Sestak Affair and the-job-offer-for-the-non-paying-job-to-fix-an-election-scandal. Sestak-Jobgate appears to be a dubious remake loosely based on the 1998 impeachment success: the it-was-all-about-sex (not obstruction of justice) Clinton-Lewinsky scandal.
Some of the notable differences, however, include President Bill Clinton’s paramour, Monica Lewinsky, a Pentagon staffer at the time, thanks to the Clinton White House, received more than one paying job offer as opposed to Mr. Sestak’s alleged non-paying offer. Moreover, Ms. Lewinsky could accept the job, as opposed to Mr. Sestak, a sitting member of Congress, who is barred from serving on a federal panel.
It was before the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal erupted in January 1998, in the most “ethical” administration in history– pre-Obama, when some Clintonista’s helped Ms. Lewinsky find a job. Critics claimed, in part, that job hunt activity constituted obstruction of justice in the ongoing Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit against President Clinton in which Lewinsky was ultimately called to testify.
Words like ‘felony,’ ‘perjury’ ‘impeachment,’ and ‘special prosecutor” peppered the political dialogue; similar words that are attributed to the Obama White House today thanks to Sestak-Jobgate.
As the official story goes, according to White House Counsel Robert Bauer, Rahm Emanuel, a former Clinton consigliore, enlisted President Clinton’s help “to determine whether Congressman Sestak would be interested in unpaid service on a Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board.” This effort was apparently to persuade Sestak to drop out of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic primary to ensure the Obama favored Arlen Specter’s victory. Unfortunately for the Obama White House, President Clinton’s alleged lackluster performance with Sestak was met with a “no,” and Specter lost the election. Interfering with an election outcome is illegal.
In 1997, President Clinton did not directly offer Ms. Lewinsky a job, as he allegedly did in Sestak-Jobgate. Instead, like the Obama White House, the Clinton White House used an intermediary, actually more than one. Power lawyer, Mr. Fix it, Vernon Jordan, who was a close friend of the Clintons, John Podesta, President Clinton’s then Chief of Staff, and the President’s personal secretary, Betty Currie.
Let’s rewind to 1997-1998. Mr. Podesta contacts then United Nations Ambassador Bill Richardson to find Ms. Lewinsky a job.
According to Ambassador Richardson’s Office of Independent Counsel (OIC) 302:
“Richardson remembers that probably a few days before he received the resume of Monica Lewinsky at his New York office, he had a casual conversation with John Podesta at the White House. Podesta mentioned to him that Podesta would like him to interview a person who is moving to New York and is a friend of Betty Currie, the president’s secretary about a job with the United Nations in New York.”
Mr. Podesta scored Ms. Lewinsky a job at the United Nations — which she turned down.
Next up was Vernon Jordan. Mr. Jordan, who like Mr. Podesta, and unlike President Clinton allegedly in Sestak-Jobgate, not only got Ms. Lewinsky a terrific New York job at Revlon but he also helped her find a lawyer who incidentally helped her sign under the penalty of perjury an affidavit denying having a sexual relationship with the President. Ms. Lewinsky’s affidavit wasn’t true, but as the Clintons will tell you, that’s not the point. The real point was stopping the sex crazed prosecutor, Ken Starr who was investigating the Clintons, and the Clintons’ evil Republican political enemies, who according to Hillary, were trying to undo the results of two elections.
Then according to Independent Counsel Ken Starr’s report, “Prior to January 1998, the OIC possessed evidence that Vernon Jordan — along with other high-level associates of the President [Bill Clinton] and First Lady [Hillary Clinton] — helped [Whitewater figure Web] Hubbell obtain lucrative consulting contracts while he was a potential witness and/or subject in the OIC’s ongoing investigation.”
Oops, that’s another Clinton scandal involving jobs, which is business as usual and not obstruction of justice, witness tampering, or suborning perjury as the Clintons will surely tell you.
Last Thursday, regarding Sestak-Jobgate, President Obama said, “I can assure the public that nothing improper took place.”
And in 1998 President Clinton said: “I never told anyone to lie, not a single time, never. These allegations are false and I need to go back to work for the American people.”
It might be 2010 but it sure feels like business as usual circa 1998 in Washington.
[Note: This is part of an ongoing series about Clinton Redux, and the Obama Administration. Click here for previous installments]
Cross-posted at marinkapeschmann.com