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Roland Burris admits to untruths under oath

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* Did US Sen. Roland Burris perjure himself before the IL House impeachment committee? From the Sun-Times

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s brother solicited U.S. Sen. Roland Burris for up to $10,000 in campaign cash before Blagojevich named Burris to the coveted post — something Burris initially failed to disclose under oath before an Illinois House impeachment panel, records and interviews show.

* Burris has now offered three different versions of events regarding Rod Blagojevich’s appointment of him to the Senate. In his original sworn affidavit to the impeachment committee, Burris wrote…

Prior to the December 26, 2008 telephone call from Mr. Adams, Jr., there was not any contact between myself or any of my representatives with Governor Blagojevich or any of his representatives regarding my appointment to the United States Senate.

But when he testifed to the House impeachment committee, Burris said he also had a conversation about his interest in the appointment with Lon Monk, a Statehouse lobbyist who was Blagojevich’s former chief of staff. Other than that, though, Burris said there were no further conversations.

* Now, however, Burris has filed another affidavit with the impeachment committee chairperson, Majority Leader Barbara Currie…

In his new affidavit, Burris confirms he also spoke of his interest in the Senate appointment with Blagojevich insiders John Harris, Doug Scofield and John Wyma.

So, he’s gone from no contact with anyone in his original sworn affidavit, to one guy in his sworn testimony, to five guys in his revised affidavit.

* And here’s the kicker…

Burris acknowledged having three conversations with Robert Blagojevich, who headed the Friends of Blagojevich campaign fund — and one of those was likely recorded by the FBI. […]

In October and again in November, Burris spoke with Robert Blagojevich, who initially asked him to host a fund-raiser. Burris said he’d get back to him after the election, sources with knowledge of the conversations said. The two later talked again, and Burris again was asked for campaign cash.

Burris said he refused to contribute and “made it unequivocally clear … that it would be inappropriate and pose a major conflict because I was interested in the Senate vacancy.”

A source with knowledge of the exchange said there was some discussion about Burris possibly getting others to give or raise money on his behalf. Not so, according to Burris: “I did not donate or help raise a single dollar for the governor from those conversations and would never consider making a donation through a third party.”

Robert Blagojevich’s lawyer claims that his client didn’t know of Burris’ interest in the Senate seat. That would be a crucial point because Burris said during his testimony that there was no quid pro quo offered or accepted.

The question now is whether anyone can be believed at this point. Since Burris has given us three different sworn versions of events, he isn’t exactly the greatest witness for himself. But if Burris is on the FBI surveillance tapes talking to Rob Blagojevich, then we may eventually get an answer.

…Adding… This video clip shows how poor the follow-up questions were to Burris during the impeachment hearing. The Republicans had him cold and they let him off…

[Hat tip: Progress Illinois]

* Transcript

REPRESENTATIVE DURKIN: Did you talk to any members of the Governor’s staff or anyone closely related to the Governor, including family members or any lobbyists connected with him, including let me throw out some names, John Harris, Rob Blagojevich, Doug Scofield, Bob Greenleaf, Lon Monk, John Wyma, did you talk to anybody who was associated with the Governor about your desire to seek the appointment prior to the Governor’s arrest?

MR. WRIGHT: Give us a moment.

MR. BURRIS: I talked to some friends about my desire to be appointed, yes.

The question was asked again, and Burris talked about his meeting with Monk. But no follow-ups were asked about the others.

posted by Rich Miller
Saturday, Feb 14, 09 @ 1:21 pm


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