* 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.