Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday requested that the Obama administration appoint a special prosecutor to probe allegations it offered Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) a job to stay out of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic primary.
In a letter to Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderObama disagrees with Holder on NSA leaker's 'public service' The Hill's 12:30 Report McConnell: Holder ‘one of the worst’ attorneys general ever MORE, the members say the alleged offer could have violated federal laws that prohibit the "promise of employment or other benefit for political activity."
Republicans have escalated pressure on the White House and Sestak to reveal what, if anything, was offered to Sestak to give Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) — whom President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaMcConnell: ‘Ticket-splitting’ will preserve GOP Senate majority Morris: Trump's key to victory: Men The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE endorsed — a clear path for reelection.
Republican senators who signed the letter are: Ranking Member Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsThe Hill's 12:30 Report GOP senator to Ryan: 'Trump is where the Republicans are’ Rankings: Trump’s top 10 VP picks MORE (Ala.), Orrin HatchOrrin HatchSenate contradicts itself on Gitmo Ten senators ask FCC to delay box plan An affordable housing solution both parties can get behind MORE (Utah), Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGOP senators split over Cruz's aid on campaign trail Senate fight brews over Afghan visas Clinton email headache is about to get worse MORE (Iowa), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamSenators to Obama: Make 'timely' call on Afghan troops levels Senate amendments could sink email privacy compromise Trump: Romney 'walks like a penguin' MORE (S.C.), John CornynJohn CornynClinton email headache is about to get worse Overnight Tech: House GOP launches probe into phone, internet subsidies Senators hope for deal soon on mental health bill MORE (Texas) and Tom CoburnTom CoburnMcCain: No third-party foes coming for Trump Tough choice for vulnerable GOP senators: Embrace or reject Trump The Trail 2016: Donald and the Supremes MORE (Okla.)
Several months ago, Sestak claimed he received an offer from the White House. At the time, Sestak was trailing the Republican-turned-Democratic senator, but eventually beat him in the primary last week.
Sestak confirmed his claim on the Sunday talk-show circuit last weekend, but declined to elaborate further.
It's not clear how the White House will respond to the letter; officials have remained mum on the subject in recent days despite taking repeated questions from the press about the topic.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs referred reporters to comments he made in March; he did not say specifically what was said in the conversations with Sestak, but made assurances that nothing improper happened.
Several high-profile Democrats have also called on the White House and Sestak to clear the air, including Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenate contradicts itself on Gitmo Dems to Clinton: Ignore Trump on past scandals How airport security lines got so bad MORE (Ill.), a close ally of Obama.
House Oversight and Goverment Reform Committee ranking member Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who has led the charge in calling for a probe, has called the offer an "impeachable offense" if proven true.
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D), who on Wednesday called for more information, said he is sure nothing illegal happened, but that the incident has become a distraction.