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Bill Daley on the White House chief-of-staff job

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WASHINGTON -- On the day President Obama headed to Tucson for a memorial service, Bill Daley started as the new White House chief of staff Wednesday, working out of the same West Wing office Rahm Emanuel used before giving up the job to run for mayor of Chicago.

Daley informally kicked off his tenure on Saturday, when he happened to be at the White House for meetings when the news broke of the terrible Tucson massacre in which Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head, six people were killed and 13 others were wounded. The White House put out a picture of Daley with Obama and other top aides in the "situation room" mapping strategy.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Daley presided over the 7:30 a.m. senior staff meeting starting on Wednesday.

Daley quit as an executive at the banking giant J.P. Morgan Chase on Friday, as well as resigning from the boards of two companies based in the Chicago area: Boeing Co., where he had been a director since 2006 and Abbott Laboratories, where he had served since 2004.

I reported last week that Daley will recuse himself from any issues dealing with Chase for two years. Deputy White House Press Secretary William Burton told me Thursday his recusals also will cover Boeing and Abbott, and Daley will not have any contacts "with his former employer on any official matter. We are determining whether additional recusals are required for any particular issues that may pose a conflict of interest arising from his previous employment."

The Financial Times reported that Daley will have to divest his J.P. Morgan Chase stock and will be selling shares valued at $7.6 million as of last Monday.

J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has visited the Obama White House at least six times so far, including one session in which Obama asked him to ease up on his opposition to the consumer financial protection agency, which Obama supported.

On Dan Hynes:
As reporters dig into Daley's background, $5,922 in donations he made to Dan Hynes 2004 Illinois Democratic Senate primary contest have gotten some renewed interest -- because one of Hynes' rivals in that contest was a state senator by the name of Barack Obama, who won.

The Daley family -- Mayor Richard, brother John, a Cook County Board member, and Bill, who straddles business, political and government worlds, long had a political alliance with the Hynes family. Dan Hynes, who just wrapped up his tenure as Illinois comptroller, is the son of former Cook County Assessor and former ward boss Thomas C. Hynes. Matt Hynes, Dan's brother, is a consultant on Emanuel's mayoral campaign. In his U.S. Senate primary campaign in 2004, Obama never expected any fund-raising or other help from the Daleys.

Gibbs shrugged off a question at the briefing about whether he knew -- and whether Obama cares -- about that Hynes donation.

"I probably knew that at some point, and, no, I don't think he cares," Gibbs said.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 14, 2011 7:29 AM.

Obama Tucson memorial speech: Penned by Chicago native Cody Keenan was the previous entry in this blog.

Mayor Daley, Maggie invited to White House State Dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao is the next entry in this blog.

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