Thursday, May 27, 2010

Did President Obama Commit an Impeachable Offense?

In the last week, it has been revealed that the Obama Administration "offered" Joe Sestak "a job" to drop out of the Democratic Primary in Pennsylvania. The question is, of course, is this an impeachable offense? President Obama has assured the Press and the American people that disclosure on the subject is coming very soon.

I am not one for blindly calling for the President's impeachment over every minor scandal; I resented the same when Bush was President. Therefore, instead of pointing at spurious things, let us look at the hard facts (at least the ones that are obtainable) and go from there.

Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution states:

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Further, offering someone a job to drop out of a race is unquestionably illegal. Here's the law, which is USC 18, Section 600 (with added emphasis):

Whoever, directly or indirectly, promises any employment, position, compensation, contract, appointment, or other benefit, provided for or made possible in whole or in part by any Act of Congress, or any special consideration in obtaining any such benefit, to any person as consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity or for the support of or opposition to any candidate or any political party in connection with any general or special election to any political office, or in connection with any primary election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates for any political office, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

The law is very specific, and if the Administration did this, it is very illegal. But does that mean that the President can be impeached?

It is unknown whether the President himself actually offered Sestak a job. If President Obama did not, then he cannot be impeached if he was unaware of what was going on. Likewise, if the President knew that the offering had occurred, but after the fact, he probably cannot be impeached. If the latter is the case, facts need to be uncovered about when the President found out and what he did about it.

The only way that President Obama committed an impeachable offense is if he himself directly offered Sestak a position, or if he himself told someone to do so.

The problem, however, is that what exactly occurred is unknown. Did Obama not know, did he spearhead it, or is this all a crazy misunderstanding? Until the disclosure that the President promises comes to fruition, nothing can move forward on the subject.

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Sirchadthepro said...

Who knows? The problem is once we start impeaching presidents it sets a precedent on the littlest things for impeaching other presidents. Not a very popular thing to do. Now if it was a resignation... that would be different.

Harrison said...

The WH can dodge all they like good thing Obama is not a Republican or he would be on the out now.

Joe C. said...

Mike, while I understand how much fishy this situation sounds, I do not agree that this situation amounts to an impeachable offense or even a crime at all. Sestak, if he accepted the job, would have been REQUIRED under the Hatch Act to drop out of the Senate race. Sestak would have either had to stay in the race or decline the job OR drop out of the race and accept the job. The problem with the people who see an impeachable offense in this case is that they think that he had an option to remain in the race and accept the position, which in fact he did not.

In short, Sestak would have had to dropped out of the Senate race to follow the law and not as a favor to Obama. Thus, I do not think Obama broke the law you mentioned. That said, what Obama allegidly did would be disgraceful if he actually did it.

Michael said...

It's obviously a crime; I even posted the law verbatim that states clearly that it is a crime. If the President commits a crime, it is an impeachable offense. Did Obama actually do it? That's the real question.

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