U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff said publicly for the first time Wednesday that a White House deputy discussed three specific jobs that "might be available" if Romanoff dropped a primary challenge to a fellow Democrat, Sen. Michael Bennet.
Romanoff, responding to increased pressure from national media and Republicans attacking the Obama White House, released an e-mail sent to him Sept. 11, 2009, by administration deputy chief of staff Jim Messina describing two possible jobs with the U.S. Agency for International Development, affiliated with the State Department, and one with the U.S. Trade Development Agency.
Well, the problem is, you can't do that. It's against the law. As it happens, Romanoff got an e-mail from Messina with job descriptions. You can read the e-mail here (it's a PDF).
Is this a smoking gun? Maybe, maybe not. If no formal offer is made, one could argue that the law was not broken. And since we're sure to get a "well, Republicans do it too" argument, we'll go ahead and post a link to an ancient article from 1981, in which then California Senator S. I. Hayakawa describes how he spurned a potential ambassadorship to continue a Senate run for reelection.
So here are the questions. Does this sort of patronage bother you? Is the problem with the politicians or with a law that apparently is ignored? And if a law is routinely ignored, why is it on the books?