Post: The deal with the Sestak deal

This editorial in The Post discusses the White House’s response to allegations involving Rep. Joe Sestak.

It would be awfully ham-handed if, as Mr. Sestak claims, an administration official presented the situation as an explicit quid pro quo: Don’t challenge Mr. Specter and the Navy (or another job) is yours. Would it be illegal? Mr. Specter said so, but ethics laws do not seem designed for this circumstance. Ordinarily, bribery takes place in the opposite direction: Government officials aren’t usually the ones offering something of value. Other statutes prohibit officials from using their power to interfere in an election, or to, directly or indirectly, promise a job as “reward for any political activity.” But these have been understood to prevent official coercion, not criminalize horse-trading.

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