House resolution on Sestak-Romanoff job offers fails at Judiciary

A House resolution demanding more information on the White House's efforts to get two Democratic Senate candidates out of primary races failed to pass committee on Wednesday. 

The House Judiciary Committee voted down the GOP's resolution of inquiry 15-12. The measure demanded that the Obama administration release documents related to jobs offers that the White House suggested to Rep. Joe Sestak (Pa.) and former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff in an attempt to get out of their primary contests. 

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Republicans in Congress had pounced on the revelations of the offers, accusing the White House, at worst, of committing federal crimes and, at least, violating their pledge to run a transparent administration. 

Ranking member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) introduced the resolution last week.

Smith said in a statement that the White House should still be forthcoming about the documents. 

"I am disappointed that this Resolution of Inquiry is even necessary," he said. "But the administration has ignored all efforts to conduct meaningful oversight. If the administration has nothing to hide, why not provide Congress with the requested documents and restore integrity to our election process? It’s time for the White House to make good on its promise of transparency and come clean about what other elections Administration officials may have sought to influence."

The White House has revealed some information regarding the offers through its counsel's office, but the GOP has demanded more. 

Last month, the White House said that it tapped former President Bill Clinton to offer Sestak an unpaid position on a presidential advisory board to vacate his campaign against Republican-turned-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.). Sestak refused and went on to defeat Specter, whom the White House had endorsed. 

The White House acknowledged earlier this month that Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina contacted Romanoff to see if he was interested in an earlier job he previously applied for at USAID, or if he was still interested in challenging appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who replaced now-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Romanoff also refused. 

The White House has said to expect no more public information on the job discussions.