Investigation to Nowhere

Who cares about Barack when there's a Blagojevich feeding frenzy in progress?
Before Eric Holder was President-elect Barack Obama's choice to be attorney general, he was Gov. Blagojevich's pick to sort out a mess involving Illinois' long-dormant casino license. Blagojevich and Holder appeared together at a March 24, 2004, news conference to announce Holder's role as "special investigator to the Illinois Gaming Board" -- a post that was to pay Holder and his Washington, D.C. law firm up to $300,000. Holder, however, omitted that event from his 47-page response to a Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire made public this week -- an oversight he plans to correct after a Chicago Sun-Times inquiry, Obama's transition team indicated late Tuesday.
It's a nuisance story - worthy of one day of coverage, and then it's on to the next thing for the quick hit media. But it's crack in the foundation of Camelot II, the tidal wave of joy upon which Barack was to have surfed into the presidency, and, it reminds folks of Barack's close alliance with convicted Obama/Blagojevich fundraiser Tony Rezko.
Besides that, the Gaming Board's staff had been concerned that the governor  had named his close friend and fund-raiser, Christopher G. Kelly, as a "special government agent" to be involved in official state negotiations about the casino. Kelly, the Sun-Times later learned, was a business partner of Tony Rezko, another Blagojevich fund-raiser who had held an option to lease a hotel site next to the proposed casino site in Rosemont. Rezko, also a former Obama fund-raiser, and Kelly both have denied any wrongdoing related to the casino, though both have been charged in separate, unrelated criminal cases since 2004.
The more time the media spends poking around the mire of Barack's political birthplace, the more little stories like this pop up. Over time, who can say what the damage will be?
President-elect Barack Obama's incoming chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, was pushing for Obama's successor just days after the Nov. 4 election, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times. Emanuel privately urged Gov. Blagojevich's administration to appoint Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett, and the Sun-Times learned Tuesday that he also pressed that it be done by a certain deadline.
At a time when the news might otherwise be focused on Michelle's inaugural gown, the Obama pre-administration is being dragged through the sort of malaise that isn't supposed to happen until a year or two down the road.
In addition to the discussions, Emanuel submitted a list of names of candidates suitable to the Obama team to the governor's administration. Jarrett was not among those names because she had pulled herself out of the running at that point, a source with the Obama camp said. Obama said Monday that an internal report detailing any staff contacts with the embattled governor or his aide would be made public next week. Emanuel's discussions do not indicate he was involved in dealmaking with the governor. However, his deeper involvement creates a sticky political situation for Obama.
There is no evidence of any malfeasance on the part of the Obama pre-administration, but there is the day to day peeling back of the layers - an investigation to nowhere, perhaps, but an investigation that bogs down Camelot II, nonetheless.