Justice Department declines to appoint independent counsel for Sestak case
The Department of Justice doesn’t need any outside help investigating the White House — at least that’s what DOJ says. In a letter to California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich attempts to tip-toe around the congressman’s request for an independent counsel to investigate a bribery claim made by Democratic Senate candidate Joe Sestak.
“You have asked that a special counsel be appointed to handle the investigation of this matter,” Weich writes. “The Department of Justice, however, has a long history of handling investigations of high level officials professionally and independently, without the need to appoint a special counsel.”
Sestak first made the bribery allegation in February, telling a Pennsylvania radio host that a White House official offered him a job in exchange that he not run for Senate, and has reiterated that claim multiple times in the last week.
In response to the DOJ letter, Issa released the following: “The attorney general’s refusal to take action in the face of such felonious allegations undermines any claim to transparency and integrity that this administration asserts. The bottom line is, if what Robert Gibbs and David Axelrod said is true and nothing ‘inappropriate’ or ‘problematic’ happened, then why doesn’t the White House disclose what actually happened, who was involved and what was promised. Either Sestak is lying, which is the only way nothing ‘inappropriate’ happened or the White House is and Robert Gibbs is lying.”
The DOJ’s letter, dated May 21, comes three weeks after Issa’s initial inquiry, and two weeks after Attorney General Eric Holder claimed in a May 16 hearing that he had already responded to Issa’s concerns.