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Issa wants answers from White House

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," March 12, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR: Well, Congressman Joe Sestak is not backing down, though, in a radio interview just today, saying that he answered the question honestly. He did not elaborate. But here is that original question. You be the judge.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, "THE LARRY KANE REPORT")

LARRY KANE, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Was there an offer — a job offered to you by the White House?

(CROSSTALK)

REP. JOE SESTAK D-PA.: Yes. Someone offered, yes — and...

KANE: It was big, right?

SESTAK: It was — let me — let me not comment on it.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

CAVUTO: All right, now, Congressman Darrell Issa is demanding answers from the White House on that. He is the ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee.

And, Congressman, you’re saying that there if there was a clear quid pro quo — in other words, here, we will give you this job, Congressman, if you drop out of this race — that is a no-no, right?

REP. DARRELL ISSA R-CALIF.: Right. That would — that would be a crime to offer anybody a federal job.

And I will give you the example that everyone can appreciate, I think, out there. If — if I said help me in my election, and I will hire you as a staffer, that is a crime. It’s the same for the executive branch. You can’t promise ambassadorships to your contributors. And, even — even worse, you certainly cannot manipulate the races by saying, you know, we will give you something else if you just drop out of this. You can’t do it.

Now, we have asked the questions fairly — very similar to the way you have been asking. We’re trying to give them the opportunity to tell us what they may have done which they do not believe is illegal. Right now, they’re trying – they’re doing the, "I won’t confirm or deny."

And, for us, it leaves two possibilities. One is, the promise of transparency in this administration is just shot. The second one is even worse, which is that either Sestak — Sestak is lying or the administration has done something wrong, is covering it up, and they should be the first to want to clear that up, even if they’re not wanting to support transparency, as they said they would when they came to office.

CAVUTO: But, Congressman — but let me try to give the benefit of the doubt here and — and try to understand what is really going on.

I don’t want to sound Clintonian here and say it depends what the meaning of the word "is" is, but let’s say you don’t posit it. You do this. In other words, you just say, hey, we have this White House job you might be interested in, with the understanding being that, obviously, you cannot take up a White House job while running for the United States Senate at the same time.

You don’t even have to get to quid pro quo in there, right?

ISSA: It’s a question of intent in that case. If they don’t — if they actually link them, the intent would still be questioned about who came up with it and why and how, because members of Congress running in — for major offices are not routinely offered anything.

You offer it to people that aren’t running for something that you would like to have. I guess this — this all goes back to the same thing. If this is going to be an honest White House...

CAVUTO: Yes.

ISSA: ... then why in the world is this a hard question for them to answer, if not the first day, then the second day, and, if not the second day, the third day?

It’s not difficult to answer a question if you are willing to tell the truth.

CAVUTO: Yes. You just say, this is not true. Stop it. This is stupid. We’re tired of it.

But you’re right. It seems a simple thing to decline.

ISSA: But I think it’s a question that you need to keep asking, because it’s exactly the kind of question about public corruption...

CAVUTO: Right.

ISSA: ... that the American people want an answer to.

And, if there’s been wrongdoing, they want whoever it is to no longer be in this administration. And this is sort of Nixonian, actually, more than Clintonian, which is, if it was done, it was probably at a level well below the president. It was probably done by "some of the president’s men."

But, at this point, the spokesperson for the president is now part of the cover-up day after day after day by saying he’s going to get to some — get back to you...

CAVUTO: We don’t know.

ISSA: ... with something that should be easy to either confirm or deny.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: All right, we’re watching it closely, sir.

In the meantime, thank you very much.

ISSA: Thank you, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right.

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