JANUARY 05, 2009
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained documents from the office of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich through the Freedom of Information Act related to Blagojevich’s contacts with President-elect Obama and his transition team. The documents include a December 3, 2008, letter from Barack Obama following his December 2, 2008, meeting with Blagojevich as well as a November 17, 2008, letter signed by Presidential Transition Team co-chairs Valerie Jarrett and John Podesta providing Blagojevich with a list of transition team contacts.
The following are excerpts from the letter signed by President-elect Obama on December 3, 2008, less than one week before authorities arrested Blagojevich for attempting to “sell” Obama’s now-vacant Senate seat, among other corruption charges:
- “Thank you for meeting with me on Tuesday in Philadelphia. Vice President-elect Joe Biden and I were pleased with the open discussion.”
- “As we discussed, I would appreciate any advice you can provide to me and my team on the biggest roadblocks to states in moving forward in ‘getting ready to go’ projects started quickly.”
- “In addition, I welcome any advice you can provide me and my team on revitalizing and reinvigorating the state-federal partnership. I want to make it a priority of my Administration to work closely with you.”
- “I look forward to working with you and hitting the ground running on January 20th.”
The November 17, 2008, letter signed by Jarrett and Podesta states:
“On behalf of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden we want you to know of our strong interest in working with you in the months to come. As you may know we have formed a Presidential Transition Team so that the new Administration will be prepared to confront the extraordinary challenges facing our country. Your leadership and experience will be invaluable in this effort and we hope you will not hesitate to share your insights during this process.”
“These documents tend to undermine Obama’s claims that he had no contact with Blagojevich and suggest his transition team is hiding documents about such contacts,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Why did President-elect Obama not release this letter? What else is he hiding?”
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