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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

VP Joe Biden's wife reveals Obama may have broken campaign laws

Here's the story from aol.com, and I though Joe was the one prone to gaffes:

Appearing on Oprah Winfrey's show this afternoon [ed: yesterday], Jill Biden, wife of Vice-President elect Joe Biden, made a verbal gaffe that could land the Obama Administration in some hot water. Mrs. Biden let slip that her husband Joe was offered a choice of either the Secretary of State's position or the Vice-Presidency.

The potential problem for the Obama Administration goes far beyond the obviously embarrassing revelation that Hillary Clinton was actually the second choice for Secretary of State, however. Promising an appointment to a federal office by a candidate in exchange for support is a crime.

Title 18 chapter 29 section 599 of the United States code is very specific about such promises, and the punishment that goes along with making them [Hat tip: RedState].

"Whoever, being a candidate, directly or indirectly promises or pledges the appointment, or the use of his influence or support for the appointment of any person to any public or private position or employment, for the purpose of procuring support in his candidacy shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if the violation was willful, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

If Jill Biden is telling the truth, and from Joe Biden's reaction, quickly shushing her, she apparently is, somebody in the Obama campaign has some questions to answer. Who offered Biden the positions of Secretary of State or Vice-President? Did Barack Obama know about the offer or make it himself?

Biden spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander has issued the following statement.

"Dr. Biden's point to Oprah was that being vice president would be abetter fit for their family because they would get to see him more and get to participate in serving more,'' the statement said. "To be clear, President-elect Obama offered vice president-elect Biden one job only - to be his running mate. And the vice president-elect was thrilled to accept the offer.''

I suppose that will put an end to that. No more questions. Still above the law.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on January 20, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink


The telling point is whether the offer was in exchange for Biden's support. If Obama already had that support, there is no crime. At any rate how do you prove a quid pro quo?

Posted by: DML | 2009-01-20 11:12:59 PM

Ah, forget it, they're Democrats, double standard invoked. This would be headlines if it were a Republican slip of the tongue, gaffe, whatever.

Posted by: LizJ | 2009-01-21 5:56:20 AM

Broken the law? Oh, please! Have you lost your mind Kalim?

Assuming that Obama offered him the choice that offer could not have been made until after Obama had won the nomination and was in a position to make an offer. And at that point, the issue of whether Biden was going to support Obama or not was long since a settled matter. In fact, at that point all of the democrats who ran against him - including Hilary Clinton - were on public record many time over expressing support for Obama. So if during the VP search process Obama said "Joe, you can have the VP slot or Sec State - take your pick" there would have been no violation of any law and not even a hint of impropriety.

Clealy the reason for wanting to downplay this story is not because it could be construed as a breach of campaign laws, but because it reveals that Hilary was not the first choice for Sec State, and that will just piss off her supporters. But if it makes you happy to speculate about legal violations, fill yer boots. Obamaphobia makes people say crazy things.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-01-21 6:20:52 AM

Unless Obama is caught on camera raping a kitten, he'll never be investigated. Hell, even if he is caught on video raping a kitten, folks like Fact Check will still be making excuses for him...

Posted by: Richard Evans | 2009-01-21 7:31:08 AM

FC, perhaps you should change your name to "Self Check." Then perhaps we'd see a reduction in these righteous denunciations that are long on sophistry and short on substance. It's not good for the ticker to work yourself into such a lather. It may impress the judges, but not us.

It doesn't matter if the initial offer was made before Obama's nomination, nor even if Baden had already decided to support Obama before the offer was made. All that matters is if the offer remained in force AFTER Obama's nomination. It's not a stretch, boyo, not at all.

Granted, like most "elections violations," this is a petty, inconsequential "tempest in a teapot." This violation, if true, is unlikely to Obama's only one, nor is any presidential candidate that preceded him likely to be any cleaner. Election law is nonsensical and convoluted to the point that it is difficult NOT to break it, and even a deliberate violation hardly suggests an irredeemable level of moral turpitude.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-01-21 9:13:11 AM

So it's against the law to offer the VP spot on the ticket? This article is stupid.

Posted by: DG | 2009-01-21 12:41:06 PM

This is fluff. Nothing will ever happen to The Obama until he he has managed to preside over the nuclear annihilation of Israel and until North America as had a few more chickens come home to roost i the form of dirty bomb, nerve gas or some other gift from Islam.

Now that The Obama and his cattle are in charge of the planet everything will be surreal until further notice.

Posted by: John V | 2009-01-21 3:55:25 PM

PLEEEASE! He was the Democratic nominee. With your really twisted logic John McCain broke the law with HIS offer to Sarah Palin. Wow. You right wingnuts are a train without a station.

Posted by: IM | 2009-01-21 10:32:35 PM

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