President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff had talks with Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration about potential candidates to fill Obama's former Senate seat , the Chicago Tribune reported.
The newspaper notes that the revelation does not indicate that Rahm Emanuel was involved in any illegal deal-making for the seat -- the focus of the Blagojevich criminal investigation -- but if true, it again raises a question that Obama has deflected this week: whether anyone on his staff had contact with Blagojevich about his choice for the Senate seat.
Communications between Emanuel and the Blagojevich administration were captured on court-approved wiretaps, a source confirmed for the newspaper.
Another source told the newspaper that contact between the Obama camp and the governor's administration over the Senate seat began the Saturday before the Nov. 4 election, when Emanuel called the cell phone of Blagojevich's chief of staff, John Harris.
Emanuel delivered a list of "acceptable" candidates, the source told the newspaper. The list named Obama adviser Valerie Jarrert, Illinois Veterans Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth, state Comptroller Dan Hynes and U.S. Rep Jan Schakowsky of Chicago, the source told the Tribune.
After the election, Emanuel called Harris back to add the name of Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan to the approved list, the source said.
Madigan on Friday asked the state Supreme Court to remove Blagojevich from office, arguing that he can no longer fulfill the duties of office.