Speaker Pelosi denies she was pressured to give Harman chairmanship

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today denied that she was pressured to give Congresswoman Jane Harman a choice job on Capitol Hill. KPCC's Washington Correspondent Kitty Felde reports.

Kitty Felde: El Segundo Democrat Jane Harman wanted to chair the House Intelligence Committee. The New York Times says three years ago, an operative from a pro-Israeli lobbying group offered to help Harman get the committee chairmanship by putting the squeeze on Pelosi.

The Times report says the operative told Harman that a wealthy donor would deny Pelosi a big campaign contribution if she didn't give Harman the Intelligence Committee post. As it turned out, Harman didn't get the chairmanship. And Speaker Pelosi says no one pressured her.

Nancy Pelosi: What is true is that everybody knows that I don't respond to threats. So it wouldn't be useful to use them. But it isn't true. It isn't true. No.

Mrs. Harman, Congresswoman Harman has many friends who would advocate for her, and to juxtapose that on any other activities that are going on is just not correct.

Felde: Several news reports say Harman's side of the deal was to intervene with the Justice Department in an espionage case against two former members of a pro-Israel lobby group.

Harman condemned that story on MSNBC. She said it's no secret she thought she'd been promised the Intelligence Committee post. She said many groups contacted her to help. But, said Harman:

Jane Harman: No deals were cut with any groups for any groups, ever.

Felde: Congresswoman Harman has asked the Justice Department to release unedited transcripts of her wiretapped phone conversations and related materials.

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