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* 3:59 pm - OK, that’s it for me. Check the news feeds. I’ll leave comments open for the rest of the night. Heading back to the beach, I think.
* 3:53 pm - The governor’s chief legal counsel has resigned…
The Blagojevich administration’s top lawyer, William J. Quinlan, resigned today — the same day that the governor announced he’s decided to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat.
“Today, I have decided to resign my position as General Counsel and return to private practice,” Quinlan wrote in a memo to his staff.
The memo, a copy of which was obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, made only a passing reference to Blagojevich’s Dec. 9 arrest on corruption charges.
“We should not let recent events diminish the pride in our accomplishments or the commitment to public service with which we approach our job each day,” he wrote. “The state of Illinois is a great place to live and work. The opportunity to serve its citizens is truly an honor.”
* These quotes show, even more, how detached from reality that Roland Burris is right now. Congressman Danny Davis quoted in The Hill…
“He expressed confidence in his ability to have the trust of people to the extent that he could not only do a good job, but that he also could help restore trust,” Davis said.
“He sort of indicated that with all his years of statewide service, a lot of people knew Roland Burris, and knew what Roland Burris stood for, and knew that he had a record of working with all different kinds of people,” Davis said. […]
“I knew how much time one would need to spend defending the decision. I didn’t want to spend so much of my time dealing with that,” Davis said.
“He had a slightly different perspective,” Davis continued. “He was willing to go through it. I was not.”
* I didn’t notice (the sound was off on the TV I was watching) that both Blagojevich and Rush used the word “lynch” in their remarks…
Rush asked his audience “not to hang or lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointor.”
“There are no African-Americans in the Senate and I don’t think anyone — any U. S. Senator that’s sitting in the Senate right now wants to go on record to deny one African-American from being seated in the U.S. Senate.
“Feel free to castigate the appointor but don’t lynch the appointor,” Governor Rod Blagojevich said as he left.
* From Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias…
Gov. Blagojevich’s actions today demonstrate an even greater need for the General Assembly to move quickly with impeachment proceedings and remove him from office. The question here is not whether Roland Burris would make a good Senator. The question is whether Blagojevich should have the right to make the appointment.
Regardless of whether he wanted to appoint Mother Theresa or Abraham Lincoln, I believe Blagojevich lost that right when he allegedly attempted to sell the Senate seat to the highest bidder. He abused his power and should lose his appointment power. Because of Blagojevich’s actions, the appointment process has been tainted and will continue to be tainted as long as he holds office. In the best interest of the people of Illinois, I encourage Secretary of State White to refuse to certify the appointment.
* The Republicans have no subpoena power. Keep that in mind while reading this…
The minority spokesman on the committee investigating impeachment of Gov. Rod Blagojevich said today he will subpoena the governor’s nominee for U.S. Senate.
State Rep. Jim Durkin, R-82nd, of Western Springs, had asked former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to turn down the governor’s appointment.
“If Mr. Burris decides to accept this appointment, as I assume (he will) against the wishes of the millions of Illinoisans, I feel it is necessary he be compelled to testify before the Special Investigative Committee,” Durkin said.
* From Speaker Madigan’s spokesman, Steve Brown…
I think I will defer on today’s questions.
Be assured the impeachment process will continue
* Jesse White was just asked about the blatant racial component in Blagojevich’s latest move: “Even though Roland Burris is an African-American, it doesn’t mean that an appointment by a different governor would not be [a black person].”
* Blagojevich video clip blaming everything on the GA…
* From a good friend…
And if this is a race thing, how could [Burris] represent mortgage lenders during the midst of the subprime mess?
Roland Burris has no idea what sort of heat is coming his way. The hostile microscope. The negative, probing press. He’s never had to endure anything like this. He’s a goner, and he has no clue.
* This is the governor’s exact quote which blamed it all on the Illinois General Assembly…
But let me say again, the law requires that the Governor make an appointment of the United States Senator in the absence of any other law that would have given the people of Illinois a chance to be able to elect a successor. And when the legislature didn’t act on the legislation which would have given the people the right to elect the next senator, failing then, it’s the Governor’s responsibility to fill the vacancy.
* Kevin reports from the scene that several African-Americans began shouting questions at Pat Quinn, but were eventually quieted by reporters. “They seemed like lackeys,” Kevin said. Go figure.
* As some commenters have noted, the governor threw the GA right under the bus today…
Blagojevich said he moved to appoint Burris after the General Assembly declined to approve legislation for a special election to find a new U.S. senator
Another complication in the selection is that Burris is a registered lobbyist in Illinois and Washington, D.C. His Chicago-based firm, Burris & Lebed, is registered in Springfield to represent clients ranging from Comcast to the Illinois Funeral Directors Association. In 2007, the firm was also registered to represent the Illinois Association of Mortgage Bankers. The firm is registered in both Springfield and Washington to represent MicroSun Technologies LLC, an Illinois-based maker of battery and power supplies.
Burris’ lobbying partner is Fred Lebed, a veteran Democratic political operative who once served as executive director of the Cook County party and has also held a number of state government posts.
* From The Hill…
Associate Senate Historian Don Ritchie said the four examples since 1913 include Democrat Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi, who died while a Senate committee was investigating corruption charges against him in 1947; Republican Frank Smith of Illinois, whom the Senate voted against seating due to corruption charges in 1928, and Democrats Henry Clayton and Franklin Glass of Alabama, both of whom withdrew their bids in 1913 after a dispute arose over the governor’s authority to appoint them.
Ritchie also said senators are often seated but then investigated by the chamber’s Rules Committee to determine whether any charges against the senator have merit.
That was the case in Sen. Mary Landrieu’s case, Ritchie noted for example. The Louisiana Democrat won a narrow election in 1996 and was seated while the Rules Committee probed charges of voter fraud before ultimately exonerating Landrieu after 10 months
But Ritchie conceded the Blagojevich situation was different.
“We really haven’t had a case like this,” he said. “There’s just nothing quite comparable.”
* The blatant play to race-baiting on Rush’s part wasn’t unexpected. He’s said pretty much the same for weeks now. But Rush went way beyond that, promising to pressure the Congressional Black Caucus and the Senate Democratic Caucus on behalf of this appoitment.
* CNN is now playing up the Jesse White angle. Keep in mind that this is not a state law that requires certification of the Senate choice. It’s a US Senate rule. This may very well stick.
* And, it’s over. Wow.
* Congressman Bobby Rush just said he wanted to “thank God” for this decision to appoint Burris. Laying it on thick. “He’s an esteemed member of this state and of this community… My prayers have been answered.”
* Blagojevich said he was “absolutely confident and certain” that the US Senate would seat Burris. He may be in for a surprise.
* The governor is fillibustering the press with a long statement about how not filling the vacancy would deprive the people of Illinois of full representation in the US Senate.
* Burris said he was called by Blagojevich on Sunday. He had no comment on the governor’s legal status, saying that as a former attorney general he believed in the concept of innocent until proven guilty.
* 2:01 pm - Here we go. CNN has it live
* 1:58 pm - Letter from US Senate Democrats on the pending Blagojevich action…
It is truly regrettable that despite warning from all 50 Democratic senators and public officials throughout Illinois, Gov. Blagojevich would take the imprudent step of appointing someone to the United States Senate who would serve under a shadow and be plagued by questions of impropriety. We say this without prejudice toward Roland Burris’s ability, and we respect his years of public service. But this is not about Mr. Burris; it is about the integrity of a governor accused of attempting to sell this United States Senate seat. Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus.
Next week we will start one of the most important debates of the year outlining an economic recovery plan to create jobs and invest in America. And in the coming weeks, we will be working to protect homeowners and consumers, make America more energy independent, strengthen our national security, and improve health care and educational opportunities. There is much work to do and a lot at stake. It is thus critical that Illinois and every other state have two seated senators without delay.
We again urge Gov. Blagojevich to not make this appointment. It is unfair to Mr. Burris, it is unfair to the people of Illinois and it will ultimately not stand. The governor must put the interests of the people of Illinois and all Americans first by stepping aside now and letting his successor appoint someone who we will seat.
* 1:58 pm - Jesse White statement…
As I have previously stated publicly, I cannot co-sign a document that certifies any appointment by Rod Blagojevich for the vacant United State Senate seat from Illiois.
Although I have respect for former Attorney General Roland Burris, because of the current cloud of controversy surrounding the Governor, I cannot accept the document.
* 12:59 pm - Secretary of State Jesse White’s office says they will not certify the appointment. Certification is required to be seated in the Senate.
* 11:30 am - So much for spending quiet time on the beach. Sources say that Gov. Blagojevich will appoint Roland Burris to the vacant US Senate seat.
Secretary of State Jesse White has said he wouldn’t sign off on any Blagojevich appointment, as is required, but his spokesman could not be reached. I’ll let you know what I hear.
* 11:45 am - From the Tribune…
Gov. Rod Blagojevich is expected today to name former Illinois Atty. Gen. Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate.
The action comes despite warnings by Democratic Senate leaders that they would not seat anyone appointed by the disgraced governor who faces criminal charges of trying to sell the post, sources familiar with the decision said.
Shortly after Obama’s Nov. 4 victory, Burris made known his interest in an appointment to the Senate but was never seriously considered, according to Blagojevich insiders. But in the days following Blagojevich’s arrest, and despite questions over the taint of a Senate appointment, Burris stepped up his efforts to win the governor’s support.
Though he is 71, Burris has said that Obama’s replacement should be able to win re-election and he has noted that despite a string of primary losses in races ranging from Chicago mayor to governor and U.S. senator, he’s never lost to a Republican.
* 12:11 pm - A quick check of campaign finance records shows Burris’ consulting company has contributed about $11K to Blagojevich’s campaign fund. The consulting company has benefitted from a bunch of state contracts since then, many of which doing PR work on behalf of IDOT minority contracting efforts.
Blagojevich privately credits Burris with playing a major role in the governor’s 2002 Democratic primary win. Burris took the African-American vote away from Paul Vallas, who was always quite popular in the black community. Blagojevich finished behind Burris and Vallas in Chicago (he barely won his own congressional district), so Burris’ spoiler role was crucial to Blagojevich’s win.
* 12:29 pm - Ben Smith at Politico…
The Senate will not seat Roland Burris if Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich attempts to appoint him, a Democratic leadership aide said.
Majority Leader Harry Reid views Burris as “unacceptable,” the aide said.
* 12:38 pm - From the IL GOP…
Statement from Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna on Roland Burris Senate Appointment:
“Illinois Republicans were the first to demand Rod Blagojevich have nothing to do with appointing our next United States Senator.
“Because they went back on their word and refused to strip Blagojevich of his appointment power and pass a special election, Illinois Democrats have created yet another constitutional crisis for Illinois.
“Blagojevich Democrat Roland Burris is emblematic of the old-school, pay-to-play culture that has plagued Illinois for generations and this appointment is another embarrassment for the people of Illinois.
“Once again, Blagojevich Democrats have failed the people of Illinois by refusing to strip Rod Blagojevich of his senate appointment power and blocking a vote of the people.”
posted by Rich Miller
Tuesday, Dec 30, 08 @ 11:43 am
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