Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Is Rahmbo Becoming a Must-Go?

As the Obama administration battles a host of issues, with the sluggish economy, ongoing involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and now an environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, some wonder if Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel – the recognized “bad cop” of their political coupling -- is becoming an albatross around the President’ s increasingly strained neck.

Last Wednesday, California GOP Rep. Darrell Issa called for a criminal investigation into the Obama chief of staff’s role in offering a non-paid advisory board post to Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak in exchange for dropping out of the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary race against longtime lawmaker Arlen Specter. Sestak, who declined such a role, went on to beat Specter, an 80-year-old incumbent supported by the White House.

Issa, ranking member of the House Committee on Government Oversight, wrote in a letter to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel that Mr. Emanuel “was leveraging the power and access of his official position to advance political interests of the Democratic party.” He called on the committee to investigate whether Emanuel have violated federal laws. The White House counsel has investigated and said there was no wrong-doing in the Sestak offer.

Emanuel, who acknowledged utilizing the influence of President Bill Clinton in pursuing such a deal, has long tentacles into the Washington Democratic establishment, serving as a White House adviser to Clinton and helping to raise funds for his 1992 presidential election.

The Sestak affair is among mounting charges of slippery dealings that have kept the Chicago political operative and former House member in the news of late.