“I had no contact with the governor or his office..”

The New York Times reports – “No Improper Contact With Governor, Says Obama Report” – that US President-elect Barack Obama has released his incoming team’s own report [pdf file] on the contacts they had with fellow Democrat, and Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevitch, about who to appoint as Obama’s replacement in the Senate. According to the NY Times

[Rahm] Emanuel, Obama’s pick for White House chief of staff, was the only Obama adviser to talk to Blagojevich and his top aide, John Harris, Craig found. The two men have been arrested as part of a federal corruption investigation. Emanuel had one or two conversations with Blagojevich and four with Harris on the subject of the Senate seat, according to the review. The report said Obama authorized Emanuel to pass on the names of four people he considered to be highly qualified to take over his seat — Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes, Illinois Veterans’ Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth, Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

“In later telephone conversations, Mr. Emanuel — also with the president-elect’s approval — presented other names of qualified candidates to Mr. Harris including Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Ms. Cheryle Jackson,” the report said. “Mr. Harris did not make any effort to extract a personal benefit for the governor in any of these conversations. There was no discussion of a Cabinet position, of 501c(4), of a private sector position or of any other personal benefit to the governor in exchange for the Senate appointment.”

But here’s what Barack Obama initially stated after Balgojevitch was charged with corruption [dated Dec 9]

Asked what contact he’d had with the governor’s office about his replacement in the Senate, President-elect Obama today said “I had no contact with the governor or his office and so we were not, I was not aware of what was happening.”

The NY Times also reports that

[Incoming White House attorney Greg] Craig revealed his findings into a memo to Obama. The memo was dated Tuesday, but a transition official said an initial copy was given to Obama on Dec. 15. On that day, Obama announced that the report was ready but that he was withholding it from public release for a week at the request of the U.S. attorneys still conducting their investigation.

In the meantime, the transition official said, Emanuel was interviewed by federal officials who replayed a wiretapped conversation for him. He then was able to give Craig more details about what he said, and those details were included in the final report, the transition official said. Transition officials discussed the final version with Obama on Monday as he vacationed in Hawaii.

Adds I wonder if the wire-tap was of the conversation referred to by Jim..


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