18 U.S.C. Sec. 211:
Whoever solicits or receives, either as a political contribution,
or for personal emolument, any money or thing of value, in
consideration of the promise of support or use of influence in
obtaining for any person any appointive office or place under the
United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not
more than one year, or both.
Whoever in the Obama Administration offered Joe Sestak a job in the government in return for Sestak’s agreeing to forgo his primary challenge to Arlen Specter may have violated this Federal law if Sestak’s forbearance from seeking the Democrat nomination constitutes “a thing of value” to the person offering his “use of influence” in obtaining the job for Sestak. Since Sestak did not actually forbear his primary challenge and presumably did not solicits the proposed promise, Sestak himself is not guilty of violated this statute. The person who made the solicitation of Sestak would be guilty even though Sestak did not agree because mere solicitation is enough.
It appears that a similar situation exists with regard to a job offer allegedly made to Andrew Romanoff if he would desist from running against Michael Bennet in the Colorado primary for Senate.
Offering a government appointment to anyone in exchange for them acting or refraining from acting is simply selling favors, in substance no different than what another Chicago politician, Rod Blagojevich, did when he tried to get money for his ability as governor of Illinois to appoint someone to fill Obama’s Senate seat after Obama became President.