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. HolderDem rep: Jim Crow's 'nieces and nephews' are in the White House Obama to attend Pittsburgh Steelers owner's funeral Ex-Uber employee who spurred sexual harassment probe to lead new publication 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 ObamaRick Perry: Trump should ‘renegotiate’ Paris climate pact Earnest: Obama won't be Democratic Party's next leader North Korea is a problem, but China and Pakistan are just as harmful MORE endorsed — a clear path for reelection. 

Republican senators who signed the letter are: Ranking Member Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsC-SPAN to air Trump travel ban arguments live Trump faults DNC in Russian email hacks Sessions: Dems will pass anything ‘as long as it doesn’t work’ MORE (Ala.), Orrin HatchOrrin HatchLighthizer unanimously approved by Senate panel Disconnect: Trump, GOP not on same page Overnight Tech: Dem wants to see FCC chief's net neutrality plans | New agency panel on telecom diversity | Trump calls NASA astronaut MORE (Utah), Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyTrump, lower court nominees need American Bar Association review Trump eyeing second Supreme Court seat Grassley: Another Supreme Court vacancy likely this summer MORE (Iowa), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGraham: Trump won’t let North Korea get missile to hit US Five key moments from Trump's first 100 days GOP senator: There will never be full U.S.-Mexico border wall MORE (S.C.), John CornynJohn CornynDisconnect: Trump, GOP not on same page Juan Williams: Trump's 100 days wound GOP Trump wall faces skepticism on border MORE (Texas) and Tom CoburnTom CoburnFreedom Caucus saved Paul Ryan's job: GOP has promises to keep Don't be fooled: Carper and Norton don't fight for DC Coburn: Trump's tweets aren't presidential 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 DurbinDems introduce bill to create climate change bond program Top Trump officials push border wall as government shutdown looms Top Dem: Shutdown over border wall would be 'height of irresponsibility' 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.