Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » This just in… Burris alters his story again *** Says he’s open to ethics inquiry ***
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This just in… Burris alters his story again *** Says he’s open to ethics inquiry ***

Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009

* 12:08 pm - Yet another deviation from the story by Sen. Roland Burris…

U.S. Sen. Roland Burris has acknowledged he sought to raise campaign funds for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich at the request of the governor’s brother at the same time he was making a pitch to be appointed to the Senate seat previously held by President Barack Obama.

Burris’ latest comments in Peoria Monday night were the first time he has publicly said he was actively trying to raise money for Blagojevich. Previously Burris has left the impression that he always balked at the issue of raising money for the governor because of his interest in the Senate appointment.

In comments to reporters after appearing at a Democratic dinner, the senator several times contradicted his latest under-oath affidavit that he quietly filed with the Illinois House impeachment panel earlier this month. That affidavit was itself an attempt to clean up his live, sworn testimony to the panel Jan. 8, when he omitted his contacts with several Blagojevich insiders.

* Here’s the relevant portion of the press conference transcript…

“So some time shortly after Obama was elected, the brother called. And now in the meantime, I’d talked to some people about trying to see if we could put a fund-raiser on. Nobody was—they said we aren’t giving money to the governor. And I said, ‘OK, you know, I can’t tell them what to do with their money.’”

“So when the brother called me back, I said, ‘Well, look Rob…I can’t raise any money from my friends. I said, maybe my partner and I, you can talk this over and see, could we go to some other people that we might be able to talk to that would help us out if we give–because we give a fund-raiser in the law office, nobody going to show up. We’ll probably have a thousand dollars for you or something to that effect.’”

“Oh, by the way, in that first conversation with him (Rob in October), so that part is where I raise a question about the Senate seat with him. But no other time do we talk about the Senate seat. So then we came back, and when he called me back the third time, because I went to talk to my partner, and we then assessed the situation and said, ‘Look, you know, I’m interested in the Senate seat. I can’t raise any money for him.’ And so he called me back and I told him back and I told him that. I said, ‘No. 1, I can’t raise any money for you and I can’t give you any money because I don’t want to have a conflict.’ I mean, that should give some indication of my commitment right there to get out of pay to play and they’re still trying to tie me in to pay to play.”

* From Burris’ second sworn affidavit is this conversation with Robert Blagojevich…

In one of the other conversations (I believe the last one), I mentioned the Senate seat in the context of saying that I could not contribute to Governor Blagojevich because it could be viewed as an attempt to curry favor with him regarding his decision to appoint a successor to President Obama.

No mention that Burris actually tried raising money and couldn’t.

This guy is a real piece of work.

*** 2:14 pm *** Burris says he’s open to a Senate ethics inquiry

U.S. Sen. Roland Burris said today he is open to a Senate ethics investigation into how he got the Senate seat from ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich and that he has reached out to a Sangamon County prosecutor who is reviewing Burris’ sworn testimony before Illinois lawmakers.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - He's Done - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:20 pm:

    I have to imagine by March 1 we will no longer be represented by Roland Burris in the US Senate. This is a slap in the face to all the people who vouched for him. How can anyone trust this guy anymore?

  2. - Magic Dragon - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:21 pm:

    Truly unbelievable…Burris knew that had he divulged this info to the House Committee there is no way on earth the United States Senate agrees to seat him. Now that he finds out the feds are on to his scheme, he decides to start telling the full story so he doesn’t end up sharing a jail cell with Blogo.

  3. - How Ironic - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:23 pm:

    This guy is trying to tapdance like Fred Astaire. Except he can’t dance to save his life. Every time he opens his mouth another contridiction rolls out.

  4. - Amy - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:24 pm:

    how is this not illegal? agreeing to pay while he can plays. he cannot continue in office. and for those in my life who kept telling me how Roland was not an arrogant piece of work….told ya!

  5. - OneMan - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:24 pm:

    So if you are acting senator for a month do you still put it on your massive tomb that you built in order to inspire the young?

  6. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:24 pm:


  7. - OneMan - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:25 pm:

    He is done….

  8. - Truthful James - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:26 pm:

    The time has come for a fresh face to go to Washuington, should Burris fall by the wayside.

    It is time to bring back the man with the great commercials and the baseball caps as well.

    Gentlemen and ladies let’s “Get Neuked.”

  9. - OneMan - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:28 pm:

    It’s time again for Bill!

  10. - Macbeth - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:33 pm:

    So I assume all this means he’s on the wiretaps, no?

    If so, why aren’t more folks curious about the wiretaps and what Burris might have said?

    And if I’m understanding all this correctly, this means that Blagojevich did, essentially, sell the senate seat — except he sold it to a bumbler who couldn’t produce?

  11. - Hair today, gone.... - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:33 pm:

    I still proudly tell people I voted for Neukerk (sp)for Gov last go around. His commercial about “not in bed with big bussiness, I’m in bed with your sister” won me over!

  12. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:35 pm:

    So, Burris tried to raise money and found out that no one wanted to give money to the Gov. Then, Burris tells Rob he shouldn’t raise money when he knows that the truth is he can’t find anyone who will give. Nice, at least he’s lying to everyone.

  13. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:40 pm:

    Burris better lawyer-up but good before he talks to the feds.

    My free consultation: Before you answer any question,
    keep in mind it is a crime to lie to a federal agent. Bonus consultation: Assume they already know the true answer to the question they are asking you.

  14. - tanstaafl - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:42 pm:

    It appears Burris has forgotten the main problem you have when you lie, it is hard to keep the lies straight as time goes on. It seems like every time he opens his mouth, the story changes - that is if you can follow what he is saying.

  15. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:42 pm:

    Next question - if he steps aside, does Quinn dare appoint anyone amid the national furor and movement to amend the US Constitution with a Special Election provision for Senate vacancies?

  16. - Vote Quimby! - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:43 pm:

    I think the senator should have kept this a ‘listening’ tour and not a talking tour. If he can’t even keep this story straight, how is he supposed to represent Illinois in the Senate? It proves a fitting end to Reid and Durbin for their flip-flopping on not seating anyone appointed by Blago…and you know President Obama has to be wondering ‘why does this keep popping up?’…not a good first 30 days!

  17. - piper - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:43 pm:

    Is it too soon for a QOTD on a successor to Burris? I think not…………

  18. - Anon - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:43 pm:

    How do you get U.S. Senator off the tomb and not ruin the other titles?

  19. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:45 pm:

    ===If so, why aren’t more folks curious about the wiretaps and what Burris might have said?===

    I really don’t understand why commenters here and on other blogs believe they need to say “why aren’t more folks curious about…” all the time.

    Sure, we’re curious. Fat lot of good that will do us. Burris was asked if he’s on the tapes, but how would he know for sure? Only Fitz and the FBI know and they ain’t telling.

    Just please take a breath.

  20. - Amy - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:46 pm:

    i consulted my friend, who is an attorney, and he said, forget about perjury. looks like Burris just talked himself into a criminal investigation.

  21. - rjw - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:47 pm:

    the us senate should refer burris to the ethics cmte & remove him from the senate

  22. - Gob Bluth - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:49 pm:

    Wow. Politics in Illinois is the “gift” that keeps on giving.

  23. - Larry Mullholland - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 12:50 pm:

    Burris needs to resign and Quinn needs to call a special election as he has championed oh so many years.

    The largest most expensive bill ever to pass congress was passed with a ONE VOTE margin. The one vote, was a corrupt vote out of Obama’s circle of friends. They are giving “Chicago’s Finest” a new definition. More embarrassment.

  24. - IrishPirate - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 1:06 pm:

    Bye Bye Burris.

    Blago is the gift that keeps on giving.

    Old Irish Saying:

    What is gotten badly, goes badly.

  25. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 1:11 pm:

    Lots of people on here claiming Burris is “done” or ought to “step aside.” Not sure where that’s coming from, but it isn’t likely in my opinion.

    I don’t think Burris has any intention of resigning. I don’t think the Senate will act to remove him. I don’t think any possible investigation will be concluded before his term expires. I think we’re stuck with him for the duration. In fact, now he’s probably taken any chance of a “promotion” to an appointed position off the table too.

    Although it will be impossible for him to raise much money, especially given the $400K debt he claims (although it’s owed mostly to himself), I wouldn’t rule out an attempt to run in 2010. He is as delusional as our former governor.

    I don’t like it, but I don’t see him going anywhere anytime soon. We’d all better accept that and move on.

  26. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 1:16 pm:

    Although I agree with 47th Ward to a certain extent regarding an impending Burris resignation, I do believe the Senate will have to begin some type of censuring process and possible removal. I am not sure how that works but I don’t see how they can get around it.

  27. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 1:20 pm:

    I believe it takes 67 votes to remove a Senator. How many GOP Senators want this nightmare to end? I’d say it’s about zero. So if all the Dems vote to remove him, nothing happens.

    We’re stuck with him.

  28. - Dan S, a Voter and Cubs Fan - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 1:24 pm:

    The appointment was tainted from the start and never should have happened, these unfolding events show why.

  29. - JonShibleyFan - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 1:27 pm:

    Larry Mulholland,

    What are you talking about? The Stimulus bill? It passed 60-38 in the Senate. I’m no mathematician, but that seems like twenty-one votes more than one vote.

    And calling Burris part of “Obama’s circle of friends” is, well, partisan drivel.

    There’s this awesome web site you should check out. Go to You can type in words related to information you want, and it will spit out answers in milliseconds.

  30. - James the Intolerant - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 1:35 pm:

    The Senate would have to vote him out, he will never quit on his own.

  31. - Anon - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 1:35 pm:


    It takes 60 votes to overcome a filibuster in the US Senate, so the vote was in fact one vote shy of not passing.

    There’s this awesome web site you should check out. Go to

  32. - Railfan - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 1:38 pm:

    Hair today @ 12:33: I voted for LeBeau, but I knew nothing. Nothing!

  33. - Ken - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 1:44 pm:

    Thank you Rod Blagojevich for putting Roland Burris in the Senate seat. A happy Republican!

  34. - Concerned Observer - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 1:45 pm:

    Those who are suggesting that the stimulus bill only passed because of “a corrupt vote from Obama’s circle of friends” are forgetting that it doesn’t matter who was appointed to that seat, it still would have been a Democrat, and it still would have been a ‘Yes’ vote.

  35. - Anon - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 2:02 pm:

    Concerned Observer,

    If the seat was still empty and awaiting a special election, there would have been one less vote to get to 60.

  36. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 2:05 pm:

    Enough about the stimulus bill and Burris for crying out loud. I’ve already deleted several posts, but can’t seem to catch up with you people.

    The SDems would’ve just dragged Kennedy into the chambers.

    Move along.

  37. - publius - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 2:24 pm:

    you get the representative you deserve—in this case the decision maker was the governor alone and he got a lying egomanic totally out of touch with reality who couldn’t even raise the price of appointment because of his lack of ability—time for a new round of talk shows—”how i appointed my clone”

  38. - sal-says - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 2:41 pm:

    “…Burris said today he is open to a Senate ethics investigation…”

    Hmmm. If I changed my stories as much as he does, I’m not sure I’d want to volunteer for that…but I’m certainly not as smart as he is.

    And, it occurs to me that if you can’t tell the same story the same way each time, maybe we aren’t hearing ‘facts’ at all.

  39. - Let's Do Something About It - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 2:43 pm:

    In light of this latest disclosure from Burris, I just placed my call to his Washington office to call on him to resign. Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s light up his switchboard:

    DC Office: 202-224-2854
    Chicago Office: 312-886-3506
    Springfield Office: 217-492-5089

  40. - This Bleeping State - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 2:46 pm:

    How nice of Sen. Burris to say he’s open to an ethics investigation. After all, you have to be open to an investigation for one to take place, right?

  41. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 2:47 pm:

    ===let’s light up his switchboard===

    The only thing that will accomplish is screw up the days of the poor schmoes who have to answer the phones. He ain’t gonna listen.

  42. - sneaker - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 2:52 pm:

    Will the shame of being a resident of this state ever end? We all knew that when Blago named Burris there was a pay-back coming from somewhere. Why, because that’s how Rod does business. Since he didn’t change his tactics when he was fairly sure he was being wire tapped, why change after he’s been caught?

  43. - Let's Do Something About It - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 2:55 pm:

    Rich, actually I was thinking more along the lines of giving the clued-in political reporters who read TCFB something to mention in their reports.

  44. - archpundit - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 2:58 pm:

    ==The only thing that will accomplish is screw up the days of the poor schmoes who have to answer the phones. He ain’t gonna listen.

    Has he hired poor schmoos to do that yet?

  45. - sal-says - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 3:01 pm:

    Just re-watched the relevant portion of Burris impeachment hearing testimony here: There’s 4 (four) seconds of time after the questioner’s ‘OK’ and the next question, where Burris had AMPLE time to inject further remarks about his contacts. Also, it gives me a ’squishy’ feeling (not a good feeling at that) that he had to consult with his attorney before answering the question in the first place.

  46. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 3:08 pm:

    ===There’s 4 (four) seconds of time after the questioner’s ‘OK’ and the next question, where Burris had AMPLE time to inject further remarks about his contacts. ===

    Man, that’s a bit much. You’re gonna base perjury on a 4-second gap?

  47. - chicountryguy - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 3:29 pm:

    Not sure if anyone saw this. From Hinz’s blog:

    **** Update: Cook County Clerk David Orr, who always has been very sensitive about offending African-American voters, just issued a statement calling on Mr. Burris to step down.

    The statement accuses Mr. Burris of playing “verbal hide-and-seak with the truth.” It concludes that voters should not have to “suffer through more episodes in this unseemly drama…I ask you to step down and let the people of Illinois move forward.”

  48. - This bleeping state - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 3:40 pm:

    I agree, Rich, that the four second gap doesn’t equate to a basis for a perjury charge, but the larger point is that the display flies in the face of Burris’ assertion (in the cover letter to his affidavit) that “the Senator was unable to fully respond to several matters that were included in questions during his testimony.” The letter/affidavit is contradictory (in my interpretation, at least) - “Dear Representative Currie, I couldn’t remember or I wasn’t given the opportunity to answer. Please pick whichever explanation works for you.”

  49. - Jake from Elwood - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 4:23 pm:

    His story continues to morph as he tries to outguess what the Feds might have him saying on tape. My guess is that Roland said what he thought he needed to say to Rod to get the appointment and what he neede not to say to the impeachment panel to get the appointment.
    A veritable swimming pool full of half-truths and distortments of fact. . .

  50. - this voter will remember - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 4:38 pm:

    The whole Blago/Burris fiasco is better than MadTV or Saturday Night Live. I’ve always heard that when times are tough that laughter is the best remedy.

  51. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 6:40 pm:

    For those looking for any action against Burris, I think the GOP played themselves into letting the Sangamon County SA be the lead dog. Reid, Durbin, and the Illinois Dems will be happy if you take your time.

    Although, the way this has been going, he might be blown out of the water in a month.

  52. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 7:30 pm:

    ==Update: Cook County Clerk David Orr, who always has been very sensitive about offending African-American voters, just issued a statement calling on Mr. Burris to step down.==

    Well, that settles it. A goo-goo who takes a job, perks and hires employee for an office in which 90% of its duties could be handled automatically by software.

    Stop the presses.

  53. - Cassandra - Saturday, Feb 21, 09 @ 3:39 pm:

    There is nothing in his history to suggest that he would resign. And I seriously doubt the Senate will remove him.

    The Dems should be more concerned about getting him to bow out of the primary, less than a year away. Might not be that easy.

    I can see why Durbin took Alexi to Cyrpus. The poor guy has been saddled with a co-senator who is
    otherwise occupied since 2004. Maybe Alexi would
    help with the work if he ran successfully in 2010.

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