Posts Tagged ‘Deputy Assistant’

BENGHAZI: IS OBAMA OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE? IS THIS AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE?

by Stephen Levine on Thursday, June 13th, 2013

This is article 104 of 116 in the topic Obama Appointments

Once again, it appears that President Barack Obama is positioning key Benghazi players in such a manner as to keep them from testifying before Congress by exerting “executive privilege.”

CIA Deputy Director Steps Down ‘To Spend More Time With His Family’

CIA deputy director Michael Morell, who played a key role in editing the administration’s controversial talking points on last September’s terror attack in Benghazi, announced his retirement on Wednesday after 33 years of service.

The White House immediately announced that President Obama had appointed Morell to serve on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, an independent advisory body.

Obama also nominated as the next CIA deputy director Avril Haines, currently deputy assistant to the president and legal advisor to the National Security Council. She will be the first woman to hold the CIA post.

“As much as I would selfishly like to keep Michael right where he is for as long as possible, he has decided to retire to spend more time with his family and to pursue other professional opportunities,” CIA Director John Brennan said in a statement.

“Michael’s devotion to the men and women of the Agency, our intelligence mission, and to a job well done has been exemplary.” During his time at the CIA, Morell held positions included those of presidential briefer, director for intelligence, deputy director and acting director.

Morell made unwelcome headlines last month when documents released by the White House – after some had been leaked to media – showed he had proposed extensive edits to notes being prepared by the administration about the Benghazi attack, for public release.

In a document dated Sept. 14 – two days before ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice would go onto Sunday television talk shows to talk about the incident – Morell advised the removal from the draft talking points of all references to al-Qaeda and previous terror activity in Libya.

His proposed edits included the striking of an entire portion reading: “The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al-Qaeda in Benghazi and eastern Libya. Since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador’s convoy. We cannot rule out that individuals had previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks.”

On the other hand, he did not suggest in that instance any amendments to a part of the draft that linked the Benghazi attack to a demonstration at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo hours earlier (by Muslims purportedly angry about an online video clip denigrating Mohammed.)

The bottom line in Rice’s various talk show appearances that Sunday was that the violence in Benghazi was, according to the best information available at the time, not a premeditated terror attack but linked to protests over the video.

She told ABC’s This Week, for instance, that “our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous – not a premeditated – response to what had transpired in Cairo.

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Yet another Obama Interior Department scandal unfolds

by Michelle Malkin on Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

This is article 250 of 461 in the topic Government Corruption

The fish rots from the head down. And boy, are things smelling extra-pungent at the U.S. Interior Department.

The book-cooking, brass-knuckle antics of President Obama’s loathsome cowboy, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, have been meticulously documented on this blog, in my columns, and in Culture of Corruption. Salazar made headlines most recently with his thug threat to punch a Colorado Springs Gazette reporter for asking tough questions about his wild horses policy. The Interior Department’s inspector general, Mary Kendall, is herself under investigation for conflict of interest. Stonewalling and job-killing are the order of the day.

And now there’s this: The Interior Department’s Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs, Tony Babauta, has been placed on administrative leave — reportedly over travel and grant irregularities.

The news trickled out over the Thanksgiving holiday:

Guam -The Interior Department’s Deputy Director of Communications, Blake Androff has issued the following statement confirming an investigation concerning Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs, Tony Babauta.

READ Androff’s statement below:

The Interior Department’s Inspector General is currently conducting an investigation concerning the Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas.

While the Department has not reached any conclusions, the Assistant Secretary has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.

Eileen Sobeck has been named Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas and will lead the Insular Affairs team during this period. She previously served as Interior’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.

Blake Androff
Deputy Director of Communications
U.S. Department of the Interior

Details from the Saipan Tribune (I know. Why do we have to get this info from the Saipan Tribune, right?):

Babauta is currently the highest ranking native Pacific Islander serving in the U.S. government. He is the first person of Marianas/Micronesian descent appointed by a U.S. President, the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs website says.

His office has oversight over U.S. insular areas such as the CNMI, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

…[Guam delegate] Bordallo, in a separate statement yesterday, said she is “aware of the ongoing Department of Interior Inspector General review of travel in the Office of Insular Affairs as well as the review of a specific grant that was awarded by the office.”

She said the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee is aware of this ongoing process and of the allegations.

“There are not a lot of details right now and it would be inappropriate to comment on specific allegations until they have been fully reviewed and reported on by the IG. The Department of the Interior is following a well established process for IG reviews. I respect this process and look forward to receiving the full IG report when it is completed,” Bordallo said.

…“I have confidence in his integrity and in the work he has performed as the Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas. He has used his expertise on insular issues to fully engage leaders from across the Pacific and in the Caribbean. Our islands are better positioned because of his leadership. I believe that he has always exercised sound decision making and I hope this will be reflected in the IG results,” Bordallo said.

Other sources said the investigation could be more than travel spending and procurement.

Takeaway quote from Babauta, August 2012, who commented at the time on a taxpayer abuse scandal involving stimulus cronyism:

“Public corruption is intolerable.”

Do as they say…

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Holder unscathed by Fast & Furious report but suspicions remain

by Jim Kouri on Thursday, September 20th, 2012

This is article 174 of 246 in the topic Congressional Investigations

Jason Weinstein, the deputy assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division is the first of possibly many Department of Justice officials to resign following Wednesday’s release of the Inspector General‘s report on Operation Fast and Furious. However, the report appears to exonerate Attorney General Eric Holder.

According to Justice Department officials, the DOJ Inspector General’s report claims that Weinstein is the most senior official who had knowledge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) operation and was in a position to stop Operation Fast and Furious.

Some low-level officials are singled out by name in the report, with all three serving in the ATF. Phoenix Agent in Charge Bill Newell, Supervisor Dave Voth and Case Agent Hope MacAllister are blamed for the gun-walking operation that resulted in the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of Mexican citizens.

But their attorneys stated the entire ATF chain of command and Justice Department officials were cognizant of the entire debacle.

The 475-page report is the result of the Inspector General’s investigators reviewing tens of thousands of documents and interviewing more than 125 witnesses.

Despite the news media’s spin on the Fast and Furious report, several law enforcement officials tell the Law Enforcement Examiner that they are highly suspicious of the report. “I find it hard to believe that someone who’s part of the upper-echelon of the DOJ never spoke to his bosses about an ongoing criminal investigation especially one involving a foreign country,” said Thomas Brunski, a former police intelligence official.

“In my humble opinion — and it’s based on 30-years law enforcement and intelligence experience — Weinstein is falling on his sword to save his bosses. I’d like to keep track of his career after he leaves the Justice Department,” Brunski said.

“I’m hoping Newell, Voth and MacCallister will do the right thing and fight being scapegoats in a court of law. This is the most hands-on Justice Department in decades. In fact, it’s really an extension of Holder’s ideological agenda,” said former NYPD detective Christopher Hanrahan.

According to the Congressional Internet Caucus: Jason Weinstein was appointed in May 2009 to be a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, where he managed the Division’s computer crime and intellectual property programs, as well as its violent crime, organized crime, and human rights programs.

Before joining the Criminal Division, Jason served for close to seven years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland. During that time, he served as Chief of the Violent Crime Section in the Baltimore office, where he designed and managed the Maryland Exile program, which has contributed to major reductions in shootings and murders in Baltimore.

Prior to joining the District of Maryland, he served for three years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted criminal cases involving, among other things, violent crime, gangs, financial crimes, narcotics, money laundering and racketeering.

The ATF is no stranger to political scandals. In 1995, it was the subject of an investigation in its handling of the Branch Davidian massacre that occurred in Waco, Texas.

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RAMPANT PENSION FRAUD: WHY SHOULD THE TAXPAYERS PAY MORE?

by Stephen Levine on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

This is article 229 of 461 in the topic Government Corruption

Here is a deeply disturbing story from the Washington Post detailing how a senior official of BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ) was allegedly kept on the BATFE payroll to meet pension requirements while apparently holding a full-time position with J.P. Morgan.

In an unusual arrangement, a senior official of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives involved in the controversial gun operation Fast and Furious is receiving his government salary while working full time for the investment bank J.P. Morgan, according to two Republican lawmakers.

In a letter Tuesday to B. Todd Jones, the acting ATF director, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said that Deputy Assistant ATF Director William McMahon, who oversaw the agency’s Western region during the Fast and Furious operation, has been receiving two salaries simultaneously.

The lawmakers said the ATF apparently approved allowing McMahon to remain on paid leave for four or five months while working for the investment bank in order to reach retirement eligibility.

ATF has essentially facilitated McMahon’s early retirement and ability to double dip for nearly half a year by receiving two full-time paychecks — one from the taxpayer and one from the private sector,” Issa and Grassley wrote.

McMahon is receiving a six-figure salary as an official in the ATF Office of Professional Responsibility and is serving as executive director of global security and investigations for J.P. Morgan in the Philippines, according to Issa and Grassley.

McMahon was one of five ATF officials recently singled out in a congressional report on the botched gun operation. The report alleged that McMahon knew that no safeguards were in place to prevent a large number of guns from getting into Mexico, but he made no effort to stop them. <Source>

Bottom line …

It is bad enough that this man was somehow involved in the illegal release of weapons into Mexico – which have been reliably proven to have killed an American law enforcement officer and possibly unknown numbers of innocent Mexican citizens.

It is bad enough that this man was one of the “watchers” in the Office of Professional Responsibility and was duty bound to curtail and report wrongdoing within the agency.

But let’s not forget that the taxpayers are going to be paying for this man’s retirement benefits for the rest of his life. Inflated by this egregious breach of trust which allows a person to take early retirement and earn a second salary while evading the pension rules and regulations which affect other government workers.

And let’s not forget that there is the possibility that this “arrangement” was designed to get this man out of the Congressional sights as he would no longer be an employee of the government and subject to governmental sanctions for his part in illegal gun running activities.

Time for pension reform at the federal, state and local levels. Time to remove all public employees unions which are a proximate cause of large-scale political corruption. Time to review the pension arrangements of those earning more than $100,000 per year – and who may have had their pensions “artificially enhanced” by manipulations not available to all workers.

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Congressman Issa releases details of secret wiretap applications in Fast & Furious case

by John Lott on Friday, June 29th, 2012

This is article 160 of 246 in the topic Congressional Investigations

There is an error is this story (though not in the part that I quote).  The claim is that the government “allowed” the guns to walk when in fact they ordered gun dealers to sell guns to people that the government knew were Mexican drug gang members.  From Roll Call:

. . . According to the letter, the wiretap applications contained a startling amount of detail about the operation, which would have tipped off anyone who read them closely about what tactics were being used.
Holder and Cummings have both maintained that the wiretap applications did not contain such details and that the applications were reviewed narrowly for probable cause, not for whether any investigatory tactics contained followed Justice Department policy.
The wiretap applications were signed by senior DOJ officials in the department’s criminal division, including Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco and another official who is now deceased. . . .
While Issa has since said he has obtained a number of wiretap applications, the letter only refers to one, from March 15, 2010. The full application is not included in what Issa entered into the Congressional Record, and names are obscured in Issa’s letter.
In the application, ATF agents included transcripts from a wiretap intercept from a previous Drug Enforcement Administration investigation that demonstrated the suspects were part of a gun-smuggling ring.
“The wiretap affidavit details that agents were well aware that large sums of money were being used to purchase a large number of firearms, many of which were flowing across the border,” the letter says.
The application included details such as how many guns specific suspects had purchased via straw purchasers and how many of those guns had been recovered in Mexico.
It also described how ATF officials watched guns bought by suspected straw purchasers but then ended their surveillance without interdicting the guns.
In at least one instance, the guns were recovered at a police stop at the U.S.-Mexico border the next day.
The application included financial details for four suspected straw purchasers . . . .
Although ATF was aware of these facts, no one was arrested, and ATF failed to even approach the straw purchasers. Upon learning these details through its review of this wiretap affidavit, senior Justice Department officials had a duty to stop this operation. Further, failure to do so was a violation of Justice Department policy,” the letter says. . . .

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ARPAIO TO DOJ: “I WILL NOT SURRENDER MY OFFICE TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT”

by American Grams on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

This is article 4 of 10 in the topic States Rights

Another attack on states rights. Maricopa County is fortunate to have a sheriff willing to do the  job he was ELECTED to do and stand up to the bullying and threats from the Obama administration and the DOJ.

NEWS RELEASE from www.msco.org

Date: April 3, 2012
DOJ TO SHERIFF ARPAIO: “MONITOR ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY”
ARPAIO TO DOJ: “I WILL NOT SURRENDER MY OFFICE TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT”

(Phoenix, AZ) A series of meetings between representatives for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the U.S. Department of Justice were slated to begin tomorrow to discuss ways to resolve allegations of racial profiling by Sheriff’s employees.

But hours before the first meeting, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division called Arpaio’s attorneys with an ultimatum. Austin stated that it was absolutely mandatory for the Sheriff’s Office to agree to have an outside monitor otherwise there is no reason for further meetings.

Appointment of an outside monitor essentially usurps the powers and duties of an elected Sheriff and transfers them to a person or group of persons selected by the federal government. Every policy decision, every operation, every new program in the jails and in enforcement, virtually everything would have to be approved by the monitor, nullifying the authority of the elected Sheriff and eviscerating the will of the citizens of Maricopa County.

“I am the constitutionally and legitimately elected Sheriff and I absolutely refuse to surrender my responsibility to the federal government. And so to the Obama administration, who is attempting to strong arm me into submission only for its political gain, I say, ‘This will not happen, not on my watch!’”

Sheriff’s Deputy Director and Attorney Jack MacIntyre says a federal monitor is the most extreme proposal, particularly in light of the fact that the federal government has refused to provide any details or proof as to how they came to the conclusion that Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office employees engage in patterns and practices of racial profiling as well as other unsupported claims that the DOJ has widely publicized.

MacIntyre stated “We have never agreed to a monitor replacing the duly elected Sheriff. We have always been open to negotiating these issues raised by the DOJ, but never the appointment of a monitor.” END

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Probe reveals Obama, Holder, ACORN connection to voting “enforcement”

by Jim Kouri on Monday, January 23rd, 2012

“Where law ends, tyranny begins.” - President James Monroe

The biggest scam perpetrated by this administration is the myth that ACORN no longer exists. Credit: Newsbusters

This week, a leading public-interest organization that investigates and fights government corruption, announced that it has received additional documents about meetings held between Estelle Rogers, Director of Advocacy for the ACORN-affiliated organization Project Vote, and officials from both the Obama White House and the Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice (DOJ).

Of particular interest is the use of the Justice Department to stop the individual states from passing legislation — of defeating already passed laws — that requires voter identification.

The group many insiders call Obama’s worst nightmare — Judicial Watch — is investigating the extent to which Project Vote, which once employed Barack Obama as an organizer in Chicago, has been working with the Obama administration to use voter registration laws to register greater numbers of low-income voters, widely considered to be an important voting demographic for the Obama presidential campaign.
“This voting block is considered vital to the Obama campaign’s strategy of pitting the poor against the rich, the unsuccessful against the successful, and the Saul Alinsky plan for increasing anti-capitalism sentiment,” claims political strategist Mike Baker.

The additional documents, provided in response to a FOIA lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch on August 19, 2011, detail email communications between Rogers and high ranking officials from the Obama White House and DOJ. The following are highlights from the records:

  • On April 27, 2009, Estelle Rogers wrote to Deputy Assistant Attorney General Sam Hirsh regarding an upcoming meeting on April 30, 2009. In addition to Rogers and Hirsh, other  attendees included: Nicole Kovite, Director of Public Agency Project for Project Vote; Spencer Overton, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy; and two officials from the Obama White House: Celia Muñoz, then-Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and recently promoted to Director of the Domestic Policy Council; and Tino Cuellar, Special Assistant to the President for Justice and Regulatory Policy.

In her email, Rogers references documents she forwarded in preparation for the upcoming meeting on the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), to which Hirsch replies that he looks forward to “reading these materials” and to “seeing everyone on Thursday.”

  • On February 23, 2011, Rogers wrote to Associate Deputy Attorney General Robert Weiner, asking him to “make some headway with Attorney General [Eric] Holder in enforcing Section 7 of the NVRA.” The email notes that the DOJ had not yet filed any Section 7 lawsuits, which Rogers dubbed “deeply disappointing.”  The first such DOJ lawsuit (against Rhode Island) was filed on March 18, 2011, less than one month later. Of particular note, is Rogers’ comment that “We have received oral assurances from [Assistant Attorney General Thomas] Perez on several occasions that enforcement action was imminent,” suggesting that Rogers was privy to internal discussions inside the DOJ regarding pending legal action.
  • On March 29, 2011, Rogers wrote to Associate Attorney General [Thomas] Perrelli, urging him to review and “make improvements” to a document she was sending following another meeting held on March 17, 2011 between Project Vote and the DOJ on Section 7 compliance with the NRVA.  Accompanying the document was a previous letter she had sent to the Civil Rights Division plus “additional comments on the Q and A.”

On December 14, 2011, Judicial Watch released a separate batch of documents which also detail the partnership between the Obama DOJ and Project Vote.

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Excessive Vacation Binges by Bama: GOOD for America!

by John Lillpop on Sunday, July 18th, 2010

This is article 218 of 1007 in the topic Obama

Barack Obama’s seventh vacation since seizing office has raised the ire of some Republicans who should know better.

As reported at CNN.com, in part:

“The Republican National Committee launched a website blasting what it considers Obama’s “leisure activities or missteps” during the oil disaster, like playing golf, attending concerts and vacationing in Asheville, North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; and now Maine.”

“Presidents are certainly entitled to vacation, just like everybody else, but there is a fine line as to when presidents should do it, what they should and where they should do it,” said Brad Blakeman, a former member of President George W. Bush’s senior staff and the deputy assistant for appointments and scheduling.”

obama blue hawaiiHold on a minute, fellow patriots!

While it is always a thrill to slam the Bama, this particular zinger seems ill conceived.

Think about it: Given the carnage that has befallen our nation during the first 18 months of the Obama occupation, isn’t America better off when this president is on the golf course, attending love-fests for Paul McCarthy, and otherwise dithering his way to a one-term presidency?

In truth, Obama should be encouraged to take even MORE vacations!

Remember, while this fellow is hiding on Waikiki Beach, he is not signing “stimulus” bills that do not stimulate, or health care fiascoes that make Americans sick, or implementing other anti-American policies from his stupid Marxist agenda.

Bottom Line: Obama on the beach is one hell of a lot better for America than Obama in the Oval Office!

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The U.S. Department of Social Justice

by Michelle Malkin on Monday, July 12th, 2010

Team Obama’s open-borders crusaders are doubling down.

Not content to file one lawsuit (already piled on top of the ACLU/reconquista crowd’s lawsuit), Attorney General Eric Holder signaled this weekend that he’s prepared to file another complaint:

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Sunday that if the federal government does not stop Arizona’s immigration law from taking effect, it might launch a second legal challenge to combat any racial profiling that occurs.

…On CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Holder said that if the law takes effect, the Justice Department might have grounds for a second challenge.

The Justice Department might “look at the impact the law has had and whether or not — see whether or not there has been that racial profiling impact,” Holder said. “And if that was the case, we would have the tools and we would bring suit on that basis.”

Perhaps this is Holder’s way of admitting how foundationally weak and bogus his first lawsuit against Arizona is.

Now, pair that announcement with the revelation last week by DOJ whistleblower J. Christian Adams that the Obama DOJ decided not to prosecute certain voter fraud cases:

Mr. Adams leveled an even more explosive charge beyond the Panther case. He testified that last year Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes made a jaw-dropping announcement to attorneys in Justice’s Voting Rights section. She said she would not support any enforcement of a key section of the federal “Motor Voter” law — Section 8, which requires states to periodically purge their voter rolls of dead people, felons, illegal voters and those who have moved out of state.

According to Mr. Adams, Justice lawyers were told by Ms. Fernandes: “We’re not interested in those kind of cases. What do they have to do with helping increase minority access and turnout? We want to increase access to the ballot, not limit it.”

If true, Ms. Fernandes was endorsing a policy of ignoring federal law and encouraging potential voter fraud. Ms. Fernandes was unavailable for comment yesterday, but the Justice Department has issued a statement accusing Mr. Adams of “distorting facts” in general and having a political agenda.

But there is some evidence backing up Mr. Adams. Last year, Justice abandoned a case it had pursued for three years against Missouri for failing to clean up its rolls. When filed in 2005, one-third of Missouri counties had more registered voters than voting-age residents. What’s more, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, a Democrat who this year is her party’s candidate for a vacant U.S. Senate seat, contended that her office had no obligation to ensure individual counties were complying with the federal law mandating a cleanup of their voter rolls.

Now, pair the Arizona announcement and the voter fraud-coddling revelation with Adams’ inside info on the DOJ’s double standard for white vs. black defendants .

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Trade post floated by White House would have paid Romanoff $163K annual salary

by Jon Ward on Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

The Obama administration is under fire for reportedly offering another Senate candidate job for a political favor (AP)

One of the jobs floated by a top White House official to Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff, in an attempt to get him out of a primary challenge to an incumbent Democrat, would have paid him $165,300.

The director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency is paid an annual salary at the Executive Level III, according to the Plum Book, the government publication that lists roughly 9,000 appointment positions every four years after a presidential election.

The Office of Personnel Management lists Executive Level III positions as receiving a salary in 2010 of $165,300. A spokesman for the USTDA confirmed this number as the director’s salary.

The USTDA’s director position is a post requiring Senate confirmation.

USTDA has an annual budget of $55 million and 78 employees. The director’s post was one of three government positions that were dangled in front of Romanoff by deputy White House chief of staff Jim Messina, according to both Romanoff and the White House.

The other two positions were Deputy Assistant Administrator for Latin America and Caribbean at USAID and Director, Office of Democracy and Governance at USAID. Neither of those jobs appeared to be as high-paying as the USTDA position, based on searches of OPM’s website.

The White House has insisted that no job was technically offered to Romanoff, but that Messina followed up with Romanoff after the former state legislator had applied online for government jobs following President Obama’s election in November 2008.

But even the mention of a potential job with such high compensation, in exchange for political activity such as leaving a Senate race, is certain to raise new questions about whether the White House has broken the law.

The incident also casts new doubt on the administration’s contention that all it offered to Rep. Joe Sestak, Pennsylvania Democrat, to move him out of a Senate primary challenge was an unpaid position on a presidential advisory board.

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