The Chicago Sun-Times reports in Thursday’s editions that Burris had more contacts with Blagojevich’s chief of staff before being appointed than he disclosed in his most recent affidavit.
Citing phone records and interviews, the Sun-Times reports Burris called John Harris four times in the weeks following the Nov. 4 election, and made a hard pitch to Harris about being appointed to the Senate. Burris has indicated his discussions with Harris included only passing reference to the Senate seat.
…Adding… The Sun-Times link wasn’t working earlier. It is now. Check this out…
One of the calls to John Harris came Nov. 13, the day Burris discussed the possibility of raising money for the governor with Blagojevich’s brother Robert, according to phone records obtained by the Sun-Times and sources. That call was likely caught on an FBI wiretap.
A list of lobbying clients that U.S. Sen. Roland Burris has given state legislators doesn’t match records kept by the Illinois secretary of state’s office, the Cook County clerk or the Chicago Board of Ethics, all of which register lobbyists and keep track of their clients. ]…]
In at least 10 cases, clients that Burris or his firm represented, according to government databases, don’t appear on the list received by lawmakers.
* I heard him say this yesterday and I thought I was hallucinating…
Yet he has only managed to make matters more confusing. Wednesday, speaking in downtown to the City Club of Chicago, Burris was asked if he was wrong to attempt to raise funds at the time he was being considered the seat.
“I was never considered for the seat,” Burris, 71, said defiantly.
* Reporters won’t be allowed to ask Burris questions about these latest twists. From a press release sent late yesterday afternoon…
U.S. Senator Roland W. Burris will postpone his Illinois Listening Tour tomorrow, Thursday, February 19th, in order to hold private meetings. The Senator will not travel to Rockford tomorrow as previously scheduled, but will resume his Illinois Listening Tour on Friday, February 20th.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs, and the Senate Committee on Armed Forces, Senator Burris will travel to North Chicago on Friday, February 20th to tour the North Chicago Medical Center, and to tour the Great Lakes Naval Training Center before having lunch with the recruits. Both events on Friday will be completely closed to the press.
So, he’s using soldiers as human shields. The man gets more like Rod Blagojevich every day.
* Burris’ “media adviser” just quit, but not before talking to Sneed…
“It’s gonna be a barrier of rope lines and stanchion-style barricades between Burris and the press from now on to avoid situations like this,” said Erkes, who — by the way — resigned from his job late Wednesday afternoon. “It was only a temporary job. I was just helping out an old friend.”
• • The Burris shot: Burris also is nixing inquiries from the press for the time being. “He will not be talking to the press until the state and federal inquiries [regarding his Blagojevich impeachment panel testimony] is concluded,” said Erkes.
It could be months, even years, before those two probes are over.
* I ran part of this quote yesterday. It’s the rhetorical device Burris is using to claim he never perjured himself…
“Yes. Yes I told people around the governor that I wanted to serve in the Senate… No, I did not have conversations about my appointment - I’m talking about actually being appointed - with anyone other than the governor’s attorney.”
The Daily Herald explains…
In Burris’ first affidavit about his appointment, he stated “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” before the governor’s lawyer offered the post after the chief executive’s arrest.
In testimony to lawmakers a few days later, Burris said he talked to former Blagojevich chief of staff Lon Monk about his interest. Burris also said he talked to “friends” about it. When asked who else he approached, Burris said “I can’t recall.”
In an affidavit released last weekend, Burris said he talked to three of Blagojevich’s top staffers, a union official close to the governor, and the governor’s brother, who raised money for his brother’s campaign, about his desire to seek the appointment.
Burris is making a distinction in his defense about conversations he had about his actual appointment and those involving his solicitation of that appointment.
It’s bogus, but there you have it.
* Yesterday, Burris said…
“I ask you today to stop the rush to judgment. You know the real Roland. I’ve done nothing wrong, and I have absolutely nothing to hide.”
Mark Brown destroys that argument…
The truth is Burris flew under the radar for years and years, projecting a certain base level of competence while retaining power by maintaining his friendships with the political establishment.
But that was no more the “real Roland Burris” than the one with the outsize ego who has been under the spotlight since he stepped in front of a post-Christmas news conference alongside Blagojevich, stubbornly determined to capture the brass ring long denied him by voters.
* Zorn predicts…
If he had a knack for understanding the moment, he’d quit now and not wait for the voters to render their verdict in 2010.
But he doesn’t. So he won’t.
The Sun-Times and Peoria Journal Star say he should resign anyway.
* Sen. Durbin issued a warning…
“At this point, his future in the Senate seat is in question,” Durbin said.
And gave the Trib some background…
“Harry and I were standing on the Senate floor Friday and Sen. Burris came up and say, ‘Hey, listen. I’m filing another affidavit with the (Illinois House) impeachment committee and I’ll give you copies. There are just a few things I want to clean up,’” Durbin recalled Burris saying.
“I talked to Harry afterwards and, as we’re both attorneys, the red lights started flashing,” Durbin said. “We better take a look at this thing and see what’s going on.”
Instead, Durbin left the country and his office told reporters for days that he hadn’t seen the documents so he couldn’t comment on them.
* Alexi Giannoulias isn’t the only one eyeing Burris’ seat. Another African-American has her sights set on the Senate as well…
Confirming political rumors, Cheryle Jackson, the president and chief executive officer of Chicago Urban League, says “I am considering a race” for the Senate seat now held by Mr. Burris.
Previously, she worked as national director of state and local affairs at Amtrak, and as the first press secretary to Gov. Rod Blagojevich. But Ms. Jackson never was considered in the Blagojevich inner circle, and left in his first term.
Inner circle or not, she worked for Blagojevich. Imagine what her quotes defending Blagojevich could do to her next year.
It is unclear how the shift will be received by black voters. But the prospective Jackson candidacy is getting a green light from one key figure, state Sen. James Meeks, D-Chicago.
I think [Mr. Burris’] story keeps changing minute by minute,” Mr. Meeks said in a phone interview, referring to the controversy over how Mr. Burris got the Senate pick. “Roland Burris didn’t win the seat (at the polls). He’s fair game.”
Now that’s an interesting twist.
* Burris Senate expulsion no time soon
* Rep. Halvorson calls Burris questions ’sickening’
* Doubts cast on perjury investigation
* Mr. Burris goes to lunch
* Burris should quit, says Hare — ‘Enough’s enough’
* Burris has enough clout to avoid resigning
* Burris in the bunker. Cancels Thursday schedule. Durbin frosty Burris statement
* Burris is no longer taking your questions
* The Burris ‘tour’ appears to have taken a detour
* Burris Cancels Public Schedule To Meet With Aides
* Burris stands up in defense
* Roland Burris feels the heat as questions swirl
* Despite rising demands that he resign, Roland Burris remains defiant