GOP requests special prosecutor to investigate Rep. Sestak's job offer

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. HolderLawyer claims death threats after anti-Black Lives Matter lawsuit Adviser: Obama can’t ‘erase decades’ of racism Airbnb enlists civil rights leaders in discrimination fight MORE, the members say the alleged offer could have violated federal laws that prohibit the "promise of employment or other benefit for political activity."

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"The allegations in this matter are very serious and, if true, suggest a possible violation of various federal criminal laws intended to safeguard our political process from the taint of bribes and political machine manipulation," they wrote. 

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 ObamaWATCH LIVE: Obama speaks at African American Museum opening Obama talks racial tension at African-American museum opening Trump in 2011: Clintons ‘have done so much’ for blacks MORE endorsed — a clear path for reelection. 

Republican senators who signed the letter are: Ranking Member Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsTrump, Clinton discuss counterterrorism with Egyptian president GOP senators want immigration details on attack suspects GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase MORE (Ala.), Orrin HatchOrrin HatchInternet companies dominate tech lobbying Senate panel approves pension rescue for coal miners Overnight Tech: GOP says internet fight isn't over | EU chief defends Apple tax ruling | Feds roll out self-driving car guidelines | Netflix's China worries MORE (Utah), Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleySenate rivals gear up for debates Grassley pulling away from Dem challenger Overnight Finance: McConnell offers 'clean' funding bill | Dems pan proposal | Flint aid, internet measure not included | More heat for Wells Fargo | New concerns on investor visas MORE (Iowa), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamOvernight Finance: McConnell offers 'clean' funding bill | Dems pan proposal | Flint aid, internet measure not included | More heat for Wells Fargo | New concerns on investor visas Senators buck spending bill over Export-Import Bank Pelosi pans latest GOP stopgap spending offer MORE (S.C.), John CornynJohn CornynSaudi skeptics gain strength in Congress Why Cruz flipped on Trump Schumer rips 'disappointing' 9/11 bill veto, pledges override MORE (Texas) and Tom CoburnTom CoburnRyan calls out GOP in anti-poverty fight The Trail 2016: Words matter Ex-Sen. Coburn: I won’t challenge Trump, I’ll vote for him 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 DurbinSpending bill doesn't include Cruz internet fight Overnight Tech: GOP says internet fight isn't over | EU chief defends Apple tax ruling | Feds roll out self-driving car guidelines | Netflix's China worries Reid blasts Cruz over internet fight 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.