White House marriage ties to presidential debate commission continue with Valerie Jarrett

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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President Obama’s closest adviser — often pegged as the real power in the White House — is tied to the presidential debate commission, providing yet another link in the web between the two entities, The Daily Caller has learned.

Valerie Jarrett — who Ed Klein called “Ground Zero in the Obama operation” — is the senior adviser and assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs and public engagement.

She served on the board of the Joyce Foundation with Michael Brewer, the husband of Commission on Presidential Debates executive director Janet Brown, beginning in 2002.

Jarrett is no longer listed as a foundation board member. She is, however, one of the Obamas’ oldest friends and closest confidantes.

The Joyce Foundation is a progressive Chicago-based charitable foundation that funds various progressive environmental, campaign finance reform and gun control initiatives — including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun initiative, Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Obama preceded their tenure, serving on the board from 1994-2002 — a time when the foundation’s donations to the anti-gun Violence Policy Center alone totaled $15 million, National Review reported in 2008.

The White House and the Joyce Foundation have also worked together closely on various issues as recent as Sept. 20, when the foundation partnered with the White House Office of Social Innovation “to brainstorm how prizes and other tools can be used, by working together, to help address the nation’s most pressing challenges.”

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy hosted a similar forum in partnership with the Joyce Foundation and the Case Foundation in June 2012.

Whether Jarrett has had any communication with Brown or Brewer about the upcoming debates, however, is unclear. Neither the Joyce Foundation, the Commission on Presidential Debates, nor Jarrett returned The Daily Caller’s request for comment.

The Daily Caller previously reported on other marital ties and family ties between the debate commission and the White House.

Connections include the former marriage of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski and ABC senior foreign correspondent Martha Raddatz, who will be moderating the vice presidential debate on Oct. 11.

The first debate begins Wednesday, Oct. 3.

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This article was updated after publication.