While reading about the alleged bribery (offering of positions in the Obama administration) of two congressional candidates by the White House, I remembered that I had read about something similar before.
Appearing on Oprah Winfrey’s show this afternoon, Jill Biden, wife of Vice-President elect Joe Biden, made a verbal gaffe that could land the Obama Administration in some hot water. Mrs. Biden let slip that her husband Joe was offered a choice of either the Secretary of State’s position or the Vice-Presidency. The potential problem for the Obama Administration goes far beyond the obviously embarrassing revelation that Hillary Clinton was actually the second choice for Secretary of State, however. Promising an appointment to a federal office by a candidate in exchange for support is a crime. Title 18 chapter 29 section 599 of the United States code is very specific about such promises, and the punishment that goes along with making them [Hat tip: RedState].
“Whoever, being a candidate, directly or indirectly promises or pledges the appointment, or the use of his influence or support for the appointment of any person to any public or private position or employment, for the purpose of procuring support in his candidacy shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if the violation was willful, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”
If Jill Biden is telling the truth, and from Joe Biden’s reaction, quickly shushing her, she apparently is, somebody in the Obama campaign has some questions to answer. Who offered Biden the positions of Secretary of State or Vice-President? Did Barack Obama know about the offer or make it himself? There is almost no chance that this verbal slip will cause anything but embarrassment for President-elect Barack Obama and the incoming administration. But the Vice-President clearly did not want the information to come out. Whether that was because he didn’t want to deal with an angry Hillary Clinton or because he didn’t want to give Republicans ammunition with which to try and distract the new Administration in its first days in office is unclear. But despite all the laughing that the audience, Oprah Winfrey, and the Bidens did at Mrs. Biden’s faux pas, breaking federal law is no laughing matter.
Obviously, this incident was never investigated (or even widely reported on by the MSM); but if the attempted bribery of Sestak and Romanoff ever gets investigated (by a Republican Congress in 2011?) the investigators may want to look into this as well.