New Information About President Obama's Influence on His Successor in the Senate

Judgment Call

An Illinois labor union official says then-Senator Barack Obama called him the day before the 2008 election to discuss Valerie Jarrett and the Senate seat. The White House has maintained the president did not actively seek to have her appointed.

Illinois' Service Employees Union chief Tom Balanoff testified at the trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich that Obama told him he believed Jarrett met his standards of being good for Illinois and able to hold the seat in 2010. Balanoff quoted Obama as saying, "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 replied, "Thank you -- I'm going to reach out to Governor Blagojevich."

Shortly after the corruption scandal broke, President-elect Obama asked future White House counsel Greg Craig to investigate the matter. Craig's report read in part, "The president-elect had no contact or communication with Governor Blagojevich or members of his staff about the Senate seat."

Full Disclosure?

An SEIU official who left his post with the union to become President Obama's political director reportedly failed to disclose he was set to receive nearly $40,000 from the union while he was working at the White House.

Politico reports Patrick Gaspard checked a box on his disclosure forms indicating he had nothing to report concerning payments by a former employer. A White House spokesman said Gaspard is in the process of making the "small administrative change" in his paperwork.

Poll Dance

Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas says he will sue the polling group Research 2000 for providing inaccurate polling data.

The Washington Post reports Moulitsas says experts went through the data and concluded that much of the polling, "we ran the past year and a half was likely bunk." The polling outfit rejects that charge.