Criminologists call this a pattern. It is defined as a group of the same crimes committed over a relatively short period of time and has a common proximate cause, including (possibly) the same perpetrator.
Establishing a pattern is an important part of building a case against a suspect. It can also unveil other previously unrealized crimes.
Take, for example, New York where around the same time that Joe Sestak was offered a valuable job for dropping his challenge to Arlen Specter, another high profile incumbent Democrat was urged to not seek a Democrat nomination for Governor. It was New York’s incumbent Governor David Paterson.
Since taking office upon scandal plagued Governor Eliot Spitzer resignation, Paterson had anemic poll numbers and looked like easy pickings for Republicans. But it was common knowledge that Andrew Cuomo, the state’s Attorney General and son of New York’s former Governor Mario Cuomo, was preparing to challenge Paterson for the gubernatorial nomination.
In came President Obama.
In what became quite a public spectacle, President Obama approved the delivery of message for Paterson to step aside. The messenger was New York Congressman Gregory Meek’s.
Of the incident, The New York Times had written the following;
Mr. Paterson would not characterize what he was told by the White House, saying that he would not “discuss confidential conversations.”
They even quoted the Governor as saying “I’m not talking about any specific conversations”.
Well maybe it is time for someone to ask Governor Paterson for some specifics.
As the fall of 2009 got underway and the political playing field for the fall of 2010 started shaping up, it is clear that President Obama was trying to maximize his Party’s political chances. Everyone knew that Paterson was unlikely to recover from his anemic polling numbers, that is except accept for Patterson who at one point vowed that the only way he was leaving the Governor’s office was feet first or at the hands of the voters. So President Obama tried to clear the playing field for his preferred candidate….Andrew Cuomo.
Not long after that, he did the same thing for his preferred candidates in Pennsylvania and Colorado.
We know now for sure that there is a pattern here, but is it a series too?
As the smoke thickens around job gate, sooner or later we will have to ask where is the fire that the smoke is coming from? And how many fires have to put out?
Since Joe Sestak won his primary a few weeks ago and repeated his claim that the Obama Administration offered him a job for dropping out of the race he won, I have been calling for a special prosecutor and since then the list of witnesses that would be called in front of such an investigator has grown in size.
It went from Joe Sestak, to Rahm Emanuel who contacted former President Clinton and asked him to appeal to Sestak with a White House job offer. Then the witness list expanded to Andrew Romanoff and the man who made him a White House job offer for dropping out of a primary, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina. And of course the list also includes President Obama who must be asked if he he actually ordered and approved these job offers that were intended to effect several different federal elections in direct defiance of the law.
Now, based on both the pattern and series we see here, New York Governor David Paterson and Congressman Gregory Meeks would have to be questioned about the White House inspired conversation aimed at getting David Paterson out of New York’s Democrat gubernatorial primary.
So far, all that can be really said is….the plot thickens.
Some may say that there is no plot. They may claim that is politics as usual and that it is commonplace for a President to use patronage for many different purposes, including the outcome of a Party nomination process.
To a degree this is true. But the truth is that there is a perfectly legal way to do this.
I once dedicated a few years to getting a Republican elected to the State Senate from Brooklyn, a county in New York that elected no Republicans to any office. Eventually it happened, and I became that Senators Chief of Staff.
Soon after that, the same Senator ran for Chairman of the Kings County Republican Committee and we won that too.
Soon after that, it was decided that in order to avoid any conflicts of interest, the state senate and county Party operations must be kept entirely separate. As a result of that
Decision, I left the position of chief of staff to run his political operations as the Executive Director of the Kings County Republican Committee.
It was in this position that I handled all official political and electoral politics.
It was in this position that I and the senator I served, avoided the type of conflict of interest that President Obama is now facing.
Had President Obama not used a member of his White House staff to initiate discussions that would effect the nomination process of several candidates, he would be less vulnerable to the current accusations. Had the right people from the Democratic National Committee approached Sestak, Romanoff and even possibly Patterson and had they not been specific about their offer, the President could have been in the clear.
But he didn’t.
Instead, he used federal government employees to manipulate the process and make inappropriate offers of patronage. He did not go through the party apparatus and he did not use language that would have avoided any serious conflict. Such language would include phrases such as;
“The President would look quite favorably upon you if you forego a run for the nomination”
“The President has other things in mind for you if you forego a run for the nomination”
Or maybe even;
“President Obama will owe you one if you forego a run for the nomination”
If any of these statements were made by an official of the Democratic National Committee, would have made the President and his Administration immune form the charges that now exist. But he didn’t. Instead he used White House staff to make inappropriate job offers in order to effect a political election.
There is no denying that there is a “pattern” of misconduct here. That has been established with Sestak and Romanoff. It could have been avoided but it wasn’t And now, the more resistance that the President has regarding an investigation by an independent federal prosecutor , the more doubt that will be raised.
Such is the case now with New York Governor David Patterson.