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 Himpton HolderWilliam Barr's only 'flaw' is that he was nominated by Trump Protecting voices of all voters is critical to free and fair elections Castro to headline forum in New Hampshire after announcing 2020 decision 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 Hussein ObamaBarack Obama wishes Michelle a happy birthday: 'You’re one of a kind' NY Times prints special section featuring women of the 116th Congress Former congressmen, RNC members appointed to Trump administration roles MORE endorsed — a clear path for reelection. 

Republican senators who signed the letter are: Ranking Member Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Health Care: Thousands more migrant children may have been separated | Senate rejects bill to permanently ban federal funds for abortion | Women's March to lobby for 'Medicare for All' Acting AG Whitaker's wife defends him in lengthy email to journalist Watchdog: Thousands more migrant children separated from parents than previously known MORE (Ala.), Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchPhRMA CEO 'hopeful' Trump officials will back down on drug pricing move Live coverage: Trump AG pick grilled on Mueller probe at confirmation hearing Trump praises RNC chairwoman after she criticizes her uncle Mitt Romney MORE (Utah), Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees IRS shutdown plan fails to quell worries Overnight Health Care: Dem chair plans hearing on Medicare for all | Senate GOP talks drug prices with Trump health chief | PhRMA CEO hopeful Trump reverses course on controversial pricing proposal MORE (Iowa), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal McConnell blocks bill to reopen most of government On The Money: Shutdown Day 27 | Trump fires back at Pelosi by canceling her foreign travel | Dems blast 'petty' move | Trump also cancels delegation to Davos | House votes to disapprove of Trump lifting Russia sanction MORE (S.C.), John CornynJohn CornynTrump tells GOP senators he’s sticking to Syria and Afghanistan pullout  Texas governor, top lawmakers tell Trump not to use hurricane relief funds to build border wall The Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s attorney general pick passes first test MORE (Texas) and Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Worries grow about political violence as midterms approach President Trump’s war on federal waste American patients face too many hurdles in regard to health-care access 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 DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinTrump AG pick: I won't be 'bullied' by anyone, including the president Live coverage: Trump AG pick grilled on Mueller probe at confirmation hearing Senate Dems set to take aim at new Trump attorney general pick 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.