Published: Jun 03, 2010 5:58 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 03, 2010 2:59 PM EDT

DENVER (AP) - The head of Colorado's Republican Party is accusing the White House of offering an illegal bribe to try to head off a primary challenge to incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.

Dick Wadhams said Thursday that the administration broke the law when it tried to dissuade former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff from challenging Bennet.

Wadhams called it a "sordid affair" and said the Justice Department should investigate. Romanoff says the administration described three federal jobs that might be available to him if he were not challenging Bennet - the Obama administration's choice for the race.

He says he wasn't promised a job and didn't pursue the jobs.

Romanoff says job prospects didn't influence him

Romanoff insists that the prospect of a White House job played no role in his decision to challenge an incumbent Democratic senator.

Romanoff told reporters Thursday that the fact that a White House staffer told him about three possible jobs a few weeks before he mounted his Senate campaign didn't sway him.

But Romanoff didn't answer questions about whether he thinks the White House intended to keep him out of the race by offering him work.

He kept mum about the 2009 job discussions until Wednesday, when White House officials confirmed they'd talked to Romanoff about jobs before he made official his challenge to Sen. Michael Bennet. Romanoff said he kept quiet because he didn't want to "politicize" the conversations.