An Illinois newsman has died and we find this in his obit:
[Gov.] Blagojevich credited Neal with giving him suggestions about the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, such as naming Richard Norton Smith as director and asking former Gov. Jim Edgar to serve as president of the fund-raising arm of the facility
Naturally, a political operator at Blagojevich's level needs no help with patronage suggestions, but will reach out when looking for some respectable face to front a special venture.
We know that Smith publicly declined the job, which was offered by Blagojevich's predecessor. Blagojevich's predecessor had "the Smith idea" or got it from someone. Crediting journalist Neal with suggesting Smith for the job only makes sense on this level: that Neal told Blagojevich to go back to Smith after he refused the Republican offer.
Nothing about the Lincoln Library and Museum appears simple or straightforward.