Remember Nick Smith, the Republican congressman whose arm was twisted nearly out of its socket over his vote on the Medicare bill? Robert Novak reported that he had been offered $100,000 for his son’s campaign if he voted yes, but since then Smith has tried to back off a bit on that charge. Today, however, Slate published the transcript of an interview Smith gave to WKZO radio on December 1:

They threatened?here’s what they did. They started out by offering the carrot, and they know what’s important to every member, and what’s important to me is my family and my kids. And I’ve sure limited [I think that ought to be “term limited” –ed] myself, and so Bradley my son is running for office and so the first offer was to give him $100,000-plus for his campaign and endorsement by national leadership. And I said No, I’m gonna stick to my guns on what I think is right for the constituents in my district. And so what they did then is come forth with sort of the stick, and they said, Well, if you don’t change your vote?this was about 4 a.m. Saturday morn?then some of us are going to work to make sure your son doesn’t get to Congress.

That’s clear enough, isn’t it? And not just $100,000, but also an “endorsement by national leadership.” There aren’t too many people who could credibly offer that who aren’t themselves part of the party leadership.

I hope someone manages to ask Smith about this under oath. Either he’s lying or else someone deserves to go to jail. I’d like to know which.

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