In other words, the Obama team was oblivious to any wrongdoing on the part of the governor. Now, if you honestly believe that, then I'd be more than happy to sell you the Brooklyn bridge - at half the going price.
However, what's even more troubling than that bit of nonsense is how the memo portrays Valerie Jarrett as an innocent bystander in the governor's pay-to-play scheme:
On November 7, 2008 - at a time when she was still a potential candidate for the Senate seat - [Valerie] Jarrett spoke with Mr. Tom Balanoff, the head of the Illinois chapter of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Mr. Balanoff is not a member of the Governor’s staff and did not purport to speak for the Governor on that occasion. Mr. Balanoff told Ms. Jarrett that he had spoken to the Governor [Rod Blagojevich] about the possibility of selecting Valerie Jarrett to replace the President-Elect...Now, let's examine the FBI affidavit and see if Ms. Jarrett is really the innocent bystander that she claims to be. Please note that I would have preferred to present the following subject matter in a more concise and lucid manner, but due to the late hour, I'll have to quote the affidavit as is. [well, almost as is]:
Ms. Jarrett recalls that Mr. Balanoff also told her that the Governor had raised with him the question of whether the Governor might be considered as a possible candidate to head up the Department of Health and Human Services in the new administration. Mr. Balanoff told Ms. Jarrett that he told the Governor that it would never happen. Jarrett concurred.
Mr. Balanoff did not suggest that the Governor, in talking about HHS, was linking a position for himself in the Obama cabinet to the selection of the President-Elect’s successor in the Senate, and Ms. Jarrett did not understand the conversation to suggest that the Governor wanted the cabinet seat as a quid pro quo for selecting any specific candidate to be the President-Elect’s replacement. At no time did Balanoff say anything to her about offering Blagojevich a union position.
In the federal [FBI] affidavit, [Link-PDF file][Text Link, with some material omitted] Mr. Blagojevich is quoted as saying that he'd be willing to “trade” the Senate seat to Senate Candidate 1 [if you read through the affidavit, you'll see that that Senate Candidate 1 is Valerie Jarrett] in exchange for the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services in the President-elect’s cabinet.
On November 7 [which just happened to be the same day that Mr. Balanoff, spoke to Valerei Jarett], Mr. Blagojevich is quoted as saying that he'd be willing to take a high-paying position with an organization called “Change to Win,” which is connected to the 'Service Employees International Union' [SEIU]. And John Harris, the governor's former chief of staff, goes on to suggest that an SEIU Official make Rod Blagojevich the head of 'Change to Win', and, in exchange, the President-elect could help 'Change to Win' with its legislative agenda on a national level....
Harris says that a three-way deal like the one discussed would give the President-elect a “buffer so there is no obvious quid pro quo for Senate Candidate 1 [Valerie Jarret]...
On November 12, 2008, the governor spoke with [an] SEIU Official, who was in Washington, D.C. Prior intercepted phone conversations indicate that approximately a week before this call, the governor met with [the] SEIU Official to discuss the vacant Senate seat, and the governor understood that [the] SEIU Official was an emissary to discuss Senate Candidate 1’s [Valerie Jarrett's] interest in the Senate seat.
During the conversation with [the] SEIU Official - on November 12, 2008 - Mr. Blagojevich informed [the] SEIU Official that he had heard the President-elect wanted persons other than Senate Candidate 1 [Jarrett] to be considered for the Senate seat. [The] SEIU Official stated that he would find out if Senate Candidate 1 [Jarrett] wanted [the] SEIU Official to keep pushing her for Senator with Rod Blagojevich. (Note the words, "keep pushing her", suggests that Valerie Jarrett was behind the pushing and that the SEIU official was indeed, her emissary)
Mr. Blagojevich told the SEIU official that “one thing I’d be interested in” is a 501(c)(4) organization. The governor explained the 501(c)(4) idea to SEIU Official and said that the 501(c)(4) could help “our new Senator [Senate Candidate 1](Valerie Jarrett).” The SEIU Official agreed to “put that flag up and see where it goes.”
In a discussion with an adviser on November 12, 2008, Mr. Blagojevich mentioned that he had told the SEIU Official, “I said go back to Senate Candidate 1 [Valerie Jarrett], and say, hey, look, if you still want to be a Senator don’t rule this out and then broach the idea of this 501(c)(4) with her.”
So let's get this straight: On November 7 [coincidentally, the same day that Ms. Jarrett spoke to Mr. Balanoff], Mr. Blagojevich is quoted as saying that he'd be willing to take a high-paying job with “Change to Win,” which is connected to the SEIU. On November 12, the governor spoke with an SEIU official [who he'd met in person a week earlier with the understanding that he was an emissary of Valerie Jarrett] to discuss the vacant Senate seat . The SEIU official told the governor that he "would find out if Valerie Jarrett wanted him to keep pushing her for Senator with [the governor]". (Note once again that the words, "Keep pushing her" suggests that Valerie Jarrett was behind the pushing, or at least aware of it.) Blagovavich told the SEIU official to go back to Valerie Jarrett "and say hey, look, if you still want to be a Senator don’t rule this out and then broach the idea of this 501(c)(4) with her.”
However, according to the newly released memo, an SEIU official just happened to meet with an unsuspecting and gullible Valerie Jarrett [On November 7, the same day that the governor expressed interest in snagging a high-paying position with “Change to Win,” which is connected to the SEIU] and confided in her that the governor was interested in a cabinet post. And of course, it never dawned upon Valerie Jarrett that the Governor wanted the cabinet seat as part of a quid pro quo arrangement.
Sounds like a fib to me. But of course, knowing Patrick Fitzgerald, he'll let this pass. Afterall, no one messes around with the Messiah! Not even the great Patrick Fitzgerald!