One section of the aforementioned report states that "President-Elect [Obama] had ruled out communicating [to former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich] a preference for any one candidate [to fill his vacant US Senate seat]." One need only to read the report to ascertain that the word "communicating" refers to both direct and indirect communications.
However, Mr. Balanoff testified Wednesday that he was at dinner the night before the November, 2008 Presidential election when he got a call from [President-elect Obama]:
From the Chicago Sun Times:
"Tom, I want to talk to you with regard to the Senate seat," Obama told him... Obama said he wasn't PUBLICLY coming out in support of anyone [yeah, right!] but he believed Valerie Jarrett would fit the bill.Although, Obama told Mr. Balanoff that his preference would be for Jarrett to remain in the White House', he, nevertheless, recommended her [and ONLY her, at the time] for the Illinois senate. Clearly, the intention was for Mr. Balanoff to communicate the message to Rod Blagojevich. The fact that this message was communicated to Blagojevich via an individual who is not a member of the Obama administration is irrelevant. [Not surprisingly,the President's apologists are making this disingenuous (and phony) argument. They also contend, rather disingenuously, that Obama never told Balanoff explicitly to communicate his preference to Blagojevich. Utter nonsense!]
"I would much prefer she (remain in the White House) but she does want to be Senator and she does meet those two criteria," Balanoff said Obama told him. "I said: 'thank you, I'm going to reach out to Gov. Blagojevich."
A different section of the aforementioned  report goes on to say that [at a later date] Rod Blagojevich's office contacted Obama pal, Eric Whitaker, and asked him, "who, if anyone, had the authority to speak for the President-Elect" with respect to the Senate appointment.
Whitaker said he would find out. The President-Elect told Dr. Whitaker that no one was authorized to speak for him on the matter. The President-Elect said that he had no interest in dictating the result of the selection process, and he would not do so, either directly or indirectly through staff or others. Dr. Whitaker relayed that information to [Blagojevich's office].There is no evidence - from any of the tapes released thus far by the feds - that Obama offered anything in exchange for the senate seat. But clearly, Obama [in his typical cunning, wily and surreptitious style] authorized Thomas Balanoff to speak with Blagojevich on his behalf about Valerie Jarrett filling the vacant senate seat. Hence, the President's [purported] statement, that "no one was authorized to speak for him on the matter; that he had no interest in dictating the result of the selection process, and he would not do so, either directly or indirectly through staff or OTHERS", is an outright lie! Period!
Why did Obama specifically chose Balanoff as his emissary to communicate the aforementioned recommendation?
Rod Blagojevich, in one of his taped [tapped] phoned conversations, can be heard offering the following explanation:
BLAGOJEVICH: The new dynamics is the president-elect has a candidate that he wants. He doesn't want anybody to know that he has a candidate that he wants.... It's Valerie Jarrett... and... what he really wants is that I make the pick,... and not say that he wanted her.... He doesn't wanna piss anybody else off.... He wants to be able to have some deniability on it... And so he reached out to Tom Balanoff at SEIU and, uh, Balanoff Tuesday night told me that Barack had called him Monday night and then, uh, Balanoff hustled into my office Thursday, yes, the day bef-, yesterday, you know, to talk about this and that he really wants her.. So Thursday Balanoff came back with a message directly from Obama...In other words, Obama used an outsider, with whom he shares no particular or special connection, to communicate his preference because he didn't want to leave any fingerprints attached to this request.
But the question still remains: Why did he specifically choose Balanoff, the powerful SEIU chief - of all people and of all outsiders - to be his emissary?
I'm not sure. Did Obama anticipate, or hope that Balanoff, the Illinois SEIU chief, would perhaps offer Blagojevich a high-paying position for his post-gubernatorial years - a position connected to the SEIU - in exchange for the senate seat? [If Blagojevich refused to give it way for free.] This way, Blagojevich could get the prominent and high-salary position he was seeking upon leaving the Governorship [this can be heard on the tapes], and Balanoff, in return, would receive assistance with his legislative agenda from the incoming President. And no one would notice that a quid pro quo had transpired.
From the aforementioned tape [transcript]:
BLAGOJEVICH AIDE, JOHN HARRIS: One idea we, we had, which is still kind of in the exploratory phase is, um, the SEIU, whose in a coalition with the Laborers, the Teamsters and Unite Here... SEIU being the greater among equals, have this, have this, uh, "Change to Win" campaign. And maybe, uh, they make Rod the national director...Harris goes on to suggest that an SEIU Official could 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.
Thus, Balanoff, Obama/Jarrett and Blagojevich would all stand to gain from the deal.
There is no evidence [from any of the tapes released thus far] to suggest that Obama, or Balanoff had actually made a proposal of this nature. But could it be that Obama, the master pol and manipulator par excellence, had expectations that Balanoff - if need be - would offer a high-paying position to Blagojevich in exchange for Valerie Jarret being appointed to the US Senate?
Of course, this is merely speculation and, admittedly, a bit of a stretch, but I'd still like to know why Balanoff, the powerful SEIU chief, of all people, was chosen to be Obama's emissary. Hmmm....
Nevertheless, one thing is for certain, Obama clearly lied about his communications with Blagojevich and his efforts to obtain the senate seat for Valerie Jarret. Which begs the question: Did Obama also lie about his communications with Blagojevich during his interview with the FBI in 2008? The feds refuse to release the transcripts of these interviews, hence, we'll probably never know the truth.
It should also be noted that the judge, who is currently residing over the corruption trial, refuses to release the rest of Blagojevich's taped conversations - which hinders the public's ability to ascertain the facts. Additionally, the Politico reported in December of 2008 that "e-mails and other records [belonging to the Obama (Presidential) transition team] that could be key to understanding those contacts [between the Obama team and Blagojevich]... may never see the light of day, thanks to a gap in government records disclosure laws that allows presidential transition teams to keep their documents - even those prepared using taxpayer dollars - out of the public record."
Without the aforementioned tapes, e-mails and records, it is virtually impossible to find out what really transpired between the President and Rod Blagojevich.
Ultimately, it would seem as if Obama is well-covered and well-protected. But as far as Blagojevich is concerned, well, he never was, and never will be, the Messiah - if you know what I mean........