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This just in… Senate ethics probe launched *** Tribune: Resign *** Quigley: Resign *** Orr: Resign ***

Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009

* 6:00 pm - And it just gets worse for Burris…

The Senate Ethics Committee, chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is opening a preliminary probe into Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) and his seeming misleading statements about events leading up to his appointment by ousted Gov. Blagojevich to the Senate seat vacated by President Obama.

“Whenever allegations of improper conduct are brought to the attention of the Senate Ethics Committee, we open a preliminary inquiry,” Boxer Communications Director Natalie Ravitz said Tuesday. […]

A Senate probe could take months.

So, let’s see, he’s been a US Senator for about a month and a state’s attorney is already investigating him for possible perjury charges. The US Senate is launching a preliminary ethics investigation. Plus, the Illinois Republicans are refusing to stop pressuring the Democrats to reactivate the House impeachment committee so that Burris can testify again. And certain types are even suggesting that the Illinois House Dems deliberately sat on Burris’ latest affidavit until after the federal stimulus bill was safely passed. Watch for that last one to get more play, but it’s probably the most dubious of all, and wouldn’t have impacted the vote. It might’ve been a gigantic distraction, but he’d still be a Senator.

Anyway, this has to be some kind of a record.

Congratulations, Senator!

*** 6:23 pm *** This also has to be a new record. One month in office and a major newspaper calls for his resignation….

There’s only one honorable action for Burris: resign.

By the way, the Tribune editorial also asked…

Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan says Sangamon County prosecutors should look into this. But she’s the attorney general. Where’s the announcement of an investigation by her own office?

Madigan already answered that question earlier today…

Under Illinois law, state’s attorneys have jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute violations of the vast majority of criminal laws, including the perjury law. The Attorney General’s office does not have jurisdiction to investigate these allegations or a grand jury to use in conducting that investigation.

The AG’s office is a weird little entity. So far, politicos have been reluctant to give it more power. Various AGs fought for years just to get a statewide grand jury for drug kingpins, for example.

UPDATE: The slam on AG Madigan has now been removed from the editorial.

*** 7:12 pm *** The Tribune’s new favorite congressional candidate follows suit…

Statement from Commissioner Mike Quigley, candidate for Congress in Illinois’ 5th Congressional District.

“Roland Burris’ failure to be honest and upfront with the people of Illinois should disqualify him from service in the United States Senate.

“He should resign, immediately.

“The Illinois legislature should work with Governor Quinn to pass legislation immediately setting up a special election empowering the people of Illinois to have a voice in this matter and allowing us all to finally turn the page on this sad chapter in Illinois politics.”

*** 7:15 pm *** I was saving this for tomorrow, but what the heck. From a letter sent by David Orr…

…Naturally, any nominee can play word games, a verbal hide-and-seek with the truth. But your silence in this matter is subterfuge, not gamesmanship. No Americans or Illinois voters nor your colleagues in elective office should have to suffer through more episodes in this unseemly drama. We deserve a clean break with the embarrassing Blagojevich era. This is not merely a legal issue; it is a moral issue.

I have supported you in the past as a colleague and as a friend. But today I ask you to step down and let the people of Illinois move forward into a new era of good governance.

Sincerely,
David Orr
Cook County Clerk

* 10:56 pm - Rep. Susana Mendoza thoroughly guts Burris on Chicago Tonight…


- Posted by Rich Miller        

62 Comments
  1. - jwscott72 - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 6:13 pm:

    I like to call Burris “Rod’s Revenge.” Great day in Illinois, huh?


  2. - Levois - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 6:14 pm:

    Didn’t you call it Rich? That he wouldn’t know what hits when the controversy comes.


  3. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 6:15 pm:

    I’ve changed my mind a few times on various aspects of this topic, but one thing I always figured was that Burris was in over his head and had no idea what he was facing.


  4. - bored now - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 6:19 pm:

    i believe there is room on his tombstone to reflect his recent accomplishments…


  5. - Huh? - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 6:20 pm:

    I just have a couple of questions:
    1. Has Burris hammered “U.S. Senator” onto the wall of his tomb?
    2. How long does have to be a senator before he is vested in the federal pension system?
    3. How many more versions of the story are we going to hear?
    4. Has blago filed his latest reports with the election commission?


  6. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 6:27 pm:

    I agree Rich. I think a lot of saw this coming, except of course for himself. I know Fred LeBed and Jason Erkes, and can’t for the life of me figure out why they let him do this from the start. This had national political train wreck written all over it from the get go.

    Blinded by his own ego. He’s left to twist in the wind and it gets worse before it gets better. If it wasn’t so utterly predictable, it would be sad.


  7. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 7:16 pm:

    Interesting column by Mary Mitchell in the Times on the Burris topic.


  8. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 7:18 pm:

    Burris’s best position would be that prosecuting or moving against his holding the Senate seat would be a violation of the Persons With Disabilities Act.


  9. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 7:18 pm:

    Huh-

    Answer to #2 is 5 years, so barring a miracle, he’ll never see one.


  10. - Little Egypt - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 7:20 pm:

    I just read the following from the Wall Street Journal; “Burris said he is open to state and federal investigations into how he was appointed to his Senate seat.”

    For crying out loud, he wasn’t ready to be a U.S. Senator. How in the world can he be ready for the investigations that will now surely follow? He can’t keep any facts straight and has no apparent memory beyond the past 5 minutes. All he was to the U.S. Senate Dems was one more vote for the stimulus package. His immediate need is OVER. Hang on tight folks. This could be an
    E-ticket ride.


  11. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 7:21 pm:

    Irony:

    A few months ago, some people were clamoring for the governor’s right to appoint a US Senate vacancy, while others were insisting on a Special Election to fill the same vacancy. Who’d-a given odds we might have both happen within 4 months of each other?


  12. - jwscott72 - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 7:28 pm:

    We’re not going to have a special election to fill a Burris vacancy. Get that idea out of your head now. Governor Quinn will appoint someone to this supposed vacancy. That person either be a political unknown or someone that has been out of office since before the Hairdo went to Congress.


  13. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 7:39 pm:

    jwscott72,

    I’d agree with you, except I think the point is moot. I don’t think there is going to be a vacancy.


  14. - And I Approved This Message - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 7:41 pm:

    This call to re-convene the House Impeachment Panel has me confused. Didn’t Justice Fitzgerald declare that the “proces” was over after the Senate vote? If so, didn’t that disband the House Committee too? I know that his jurisdiction was the Senate but I have a recollection that it ended all of it, House panel included. Hair-splitting for sure, but I’m not sure that legally, there still is a House Impeachment Committee. Maybe the Great Rolando waited till that was true before submitting his affidavit. I need a time line.


  15. - 32nd Ward Roscoe Village - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 7:47 pm:

    “The AG’s office is a weird little entity.” Yes, still more weird, it enforces the state estate tax, instead of the Department of Revenue doing that. Ahh, Illinois.


  16. - 32nd Ward Roscoe Village - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 7:49 pm:

    What about, Burris resigns or is expelled; Quinn can appoint the only non-pay-to-play politician as our next Senator: himself; Lisa becomes governor two years before she would have anyway. Okay, Rich, I’ll slow down now.


  17. - SAM - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 7:53 pm:

    Unfortunately Burris won’t resign. The man is a dim bulb and ambitious, a bad combination that makes him both vacuous and venal.

    What person didn’t wonder what special kind of moron Burris was to agree to be appointed by Blagojevich just days after Blagojevich was arrested?

    Well, we now know he was willing to do whatever it took to embellish that tombstone of his. And he’s so dense he’s unable to recognize he’s a national laughingstock.

    Sadly, they’re are more power hungry individuals like him in Illinois and national politics — the kind that care more about position and power than serving the people they’re supposed to represent.


  18. - A Citizen - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 7:53 pm:

    How about Burris resigns and we do not replace him but leave the seat vacant for the year or so left in the term? Seems a vacant seat would do much less harm than any of the offered alternatives.


  19. - Fed-up - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 8:04 pm:

    This is just so interesting but my bet is that is the Roland will survive this round and will attempt to run for the Senate. He will, however, meet his political demise in the primary. Hell - Republicans would line up to cross over in the primary just to stick a knife in him! One thing for certain, his ego know no bounds and in this he is exactly like his latest and greatest deluded benefactor. What say you Rich?


  20. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 8:08 pm:

    For the life of me, I can’t figure out why a GA and a governor couldn’t get together and approve a powerful Attorney General’s office :)


  21. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 8:10 pm:

    lol


  22. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 8:11 pm:

    SAM makes some interesting points, and I think the past few weeks have unfortunately started a new trend.

    Past: Flawed human beings who served by trying to limit disruption so that could focus the majority of their time administering and legislating.

    Today: Flawed human beings who think they’re serving the public by disrupting government by creating ongoing media circuses.

    Combine the latter with our just coming out of the strong focus on “hope for change” that’s now being supported by some of the “miracles” that Obama is now being credited for making happen (like the “get your hands on a microphone” during an Obama “town hall” meeting “press” that’s been flying around) and the “hard” work of understanding ISSUES so that you can cast an informed vote are sure to become a thing of the past.


  23. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 8:19 pm:

    Ah, Illinois politics is never out of season - in some states politics is just relegated to bi-annual elections - we get it 365 days a year every year!


  24. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 8:29 pm:

    ===Ah, Illinois politics is never out of season - in some states politics is just relegated to bi-annual elections - we get it 365 days a year every year!===

    That’s what makes Rich rich.


  25. - Amy - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 8:39 pm:

    those in Chicago should check out Chicago Tonight on WTTW from this evening. the panel, Rep. Mendoza, Sen. Cronin, Sen. Raoul, and a Rep. whose name I do not recall was fascinating. Sen. Raoul was soft as a grape on Burris and the interplay at the end between Raoul and Cronin was sizzling.


  26. - scoot - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 9:10 pm:

    What’s Orr upto? I’ve never heard him speak out before?


  27. - Cinho - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 9:15 pm:

    It’s like Friday night on prime time. Viewers can choose the Amazing Rolando Show on NBC, Blago & Co. on CBS, or PBS’s special report on the state of the economy. Guess what’s not getting the ratings.


  28. - A Citizen - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 9:17 pm:

    While a Vacant Senate Seat might not be capable of doing us much good, at least it would perform better than the current incumbent - not to mention that other guy. The vacancy concept should be pursued, it will be much less embarrassing for all of us! Illinois has the opportunity to be a leader in this concept and the time is now.


  29. - Barnabas - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 9:23 pm:

    David Orr speaking out about Senator Burris is pretty funny, all the corruption going on in the city and county and Orr goes after the brother.


  30. - been there before - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 9:28 pm:

    Not sure why the Il House is not pursuing contempt proceedings, but in the meantime another major newspaper, the Washington Post is calling for the other RB to resign. See Buy-Buy, Mr Burris…. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/17/AR2009021702717.html


  31. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 9:29 pm:

    Hell - Republicans would line up to cross over in the primary just to stick a knife in him!

    OTOH, Maybe Rush Lindbag will start an “Operation Chaos” for cross-over Republicans to help Burris get the primary nod.


  32. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 9:36 pm:

    Roland Burris, upon hearing the public cry, “Resign!” “Resign!” “Resign!”, stated that he agrees with them.

    “I support the effort to re-sign all the toll plazas”, he said.


  33. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 9:43 pm:

    =================
    It’s like Friday night on prime time. Viewers can choose the Amazing Rolando Show on NBC, Blago & Co. on CBS, or PBS’s special report on the state of the economy. Guess what’s not getting the ratings.
    ==================

    See, word? This is just like the good old-fashioned gladiator fights!


  34. - Excessively rabid - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 9:49 pm:

    One more time, the thing to do here is an act of the legislature, to be signed into law by the current gov, declaring Blago incapacitated as of the time of his arrest. All actions by him after that time become null and void. Burris does not have to be removed because he is not a US senator and never was. Ditto the mess at DNR.


  35. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 9:53 pm:

    I’m sure that some of the other stations are covering more major dilemmas similar to the pangs that Augustus experienced when asked whether statutes of him could be erected.


  36. - been there before - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 9:54 pm:

    Let me just add pne thing to the debate on perjury and possible faulty memory of the Temporary Senator, he has all but admitted that there was no fault in his memory. He has said that the only reason he didnt disclose the now known additional information was that the questions turned in a different direction. Not much of leg to stand on (memory failed me) in defense of perjury charges, IMHO. The deliberate ommission is already conceded by Mr. Burris, and his opportunities in later questioning to follow up (not to mention his failure to do so in his opening statement alone) establishes intent, IMHO. While I have not read (or seen) and verified all his various statements, I will disagree from many of the commentators who have worked on less, that this is not a prosecutable case. Get him and Tim in for an interview asap and seal the deal on a criminal case.


  37. - Quinn T. Sential - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 9:55 pm:

    Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan says Sangamon County prosecutors should look into this. But she’s the attorney general. Where’s the announcement of an investigation by her own office?

    Madigan already answered that question earlier today…

    Under Illinois law, state’s attorneys have jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute violations of the vast majority of criminal laws, including the perjury law. The Attorney General’s office does not have jurisdiction to investigate these allegations or a grand jury to use in conducting that investigation.}

    (15 ILCS 205/4) (from Ch. 14, par. 4)
    Sec. 4. The duties of the Attorney General shall be‑‑
    Second ‑ To institute and prosecute all actions and proceedings in favor of or for the use of the State, which may be necessary in the execution of the duties of any State officer.

    Fourth ‑ To consult with and advise the several State’s Attorneys in matters relating to the duties of their office; and when, in his judgment, the interest of the people of the State requires it, he shall attend the trial of any party accused of crime, and assist in the prosecution.

    Fifth ‑ To investigate alleged violations of the statutes which the Attorney General has a duty to enforce and to conduct other investigations in connection with assisting in the prosecution of a criminal offense at the request of a State’s Attorney. }


  38. - Magic Dragon - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 10:01 pm:

    Senator Burris,

    I write to you as a citizen of this great State of Illinois. As a citizen of this state, we have been through significant embarrassment over the past few months. Based on the recent revelations about your testimony before the Illinois House Impeachment Committee and your now admitted engagements with former Governor Blagojevich and his top aides, I am begging you to do the right thing and resign. Please do not put the State of Illinois through another embarrassing spectacle as Governor Blagojevich did. We have been through enough. This state needs to move past the Blagojevich era and unfortunately, you are his final legacy. If you truly care about what is best for our state, you will do the honorable thing and step down.


  39. - Little Egypt - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 10:15 pm:

    Magic Dragon - not gonna happen. Burris is on a huge ego trip and he’s not gonna stop until the ride is over. I don’t see an end to this until January 2011. But at least he won’t serve in the U.S. Senate long enough to be vested in their retirement system.


  40. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 10:39 pm:

    word, just to clarify: the comparison to Augustus is STRICTLY limited to the one scenario I mentioned. Augustus, as I’m sure you know, was a pretty amazing leader during his time.


  41. - Sangamon - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 10:55 pm:

    Burris has that deer in the headlights look again, but I agree with Little Egypt - he won’t resign.


  42. - Amy - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 11:04 pm:

    rich, thanks for putting the link up re Chicago Tonight. guts Burris….it’s hunting season for liars.


  43. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 11:22 pm:

    QTS, what was the point of that last comment? Did it mean anything at all? Notice, too, that the Trib has now removed the AG Madigan language from its editorial.


  44. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Feb 17, 09 @ 11:38 pm:

    I have a lot of newfound respect for Susana Mendoza after the last couple of nights watching her on Chicago Tonight. She hit the point that most in the media and the politicians have completely missed. Roland was the former AG. He should be held to a higher standard than “didn’t absolutely commit perjury in the strictest sense so is ok.” He should have known better. He didn’t. He should resign.


  45. - been there before - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 12:33 am:

    CC,

    Who should even be talking about higher standards in what has happened here. Your point, however, is EXACTLY right. Former AG, practicing Atty… are we all just going to believe that the old man didnt know what he was doing. BS. Let me loose on this one, this is a CRIME, more fully completed on the existing record than the other RB’s conduct. Unless, Fitz tells county state attorney to butt out, there is no question from what I am seeing, this guy (burris) better get in line with Blago to find better representation than he has.


  46. - soccermom - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 5:00 am:

    Mendoza was amazing. Nice job


  47. - I can't handle the truth - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 6:18 am:

    I expect to find out today that he ordered the code red on Private Santiago.


  48. - Dan S, a Voter, Taxpayer and Cubs Fan - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 8:09 am:

    What if any recourse is their to remove an appointed US Senator if they will not resign?


  49. - Pat collins - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 8:33 am:

    Recourse

    The Senate can expel, of course. They did that to another IL Senator.

    The Standard has some snark solution :)

    http://www.theweeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/016/164gxceq.asp?pg=1


  50. - North of I-80 - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 8:34 am:

    AG Power: If the States Atty runs into a conflict or decides he/she is in too deep or there is a jurisdictional issue, the AG can be called in to handle or assist.


  51. - Segatari - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 8:55 am:

    >And certain types are even suggesting that the Illinois House Dems deliberately sat on Burris’ latest affidavit until after the federal stimulus bill was safely passed. Watch for that last one to get more play, but it’s probably the most dubious of all, and wouldn’t have impacted the vote.

    Burris’s vote was the 60th needed for cloture against a filibuster. Why do you think the Senate kept the vote open for several hours while Senator Brown flew back to Washington? If Burris wasn’t there the Dems would had only 59 votes.


  52. - ZC - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 9:08 am:

    Dan S,

    2/3 vote of the Senate.


  53. - David Ormsby - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 9:11 am:

    The Washington Post weighs in this morning and calls for Burris to resign. It’s done. This guy has to go.


  54. - Timing is everything - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 9:14 am:

    The release of the most recent affidavit coincides with Durbin’s overseas trip.

    Mendoza replaces Burris? She seems pretty sharp.

    Thoughts?


  55. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 9:18 am:

    How about a song?

    Roland the Headless US Senator
    Written By Warren Zevon & David Lindell & parodied by VanillaMan

    Roland is a Senator from the Land of the Illinois’ Son
    He is a figurehead for hire, pay-to-play to be done
    The deal was made with Blago on a dark and stormy day
    So he set out for DC, just to be turned away.

    Through Durbin and through Reid, he played the racial card
    His fingers on the Seat, he wanted his reward.
    For days and nights he battled the Democrats to their knees
    Blago impeached and convicted, but laughing at this deed.

    Roland the Headless Senator…

    His lawyers fought beside him - Wright and the rest
    And of all the hair-splitters, Roland was the best
    But Durkin had decided, he wanted the whole truth
    But Roland just smiled at him, and perjured through every tooth.

    Roland the headless Senator
    He’s a little devious.
    Big mausoleum for a little man
    Napoleon would be envious.
    But time stands still for Roland
    He chiseled in every “first”.
    They can read his accomplishments, even in night,
    “Trailblazer” lit with a blazing klieg light.
    On the marbled walls of Roland’s Oak Wood Tomb.

    Roland searched the transcripts for the line that done him in.
    He claimed he did nothing wrong, says he wants to begin.
    Roland took his lawyers - he stumbled on every word.
    Amid cries for his resignation, Roland acted perturbed

    Roland waits to hang now.
    And Blago is headed off to jail.
    Both claim they are innocent -
    “Their checks are in the mail”
    In Chicago, in Springfield, in Peoria and in Tinley,
    Laughing, the Daleys found Roland’s head and bought it.


  56. - Toni H. - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 9:21 am:

    Rep. Mendoza was incredible! I have been impressed with her over the last few months…she is spot on with her comments.


  57. - chiatty - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 9:39 am:

    They better stop the new lettering on the mausoleum.


  58. - Pat collins - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 9:42 am:

    Rep. Mendoza was incredible!

    She did indeed make several very pertinent points.

    Now let me make a very unpleasant one.

    Replacing a black with a hispanic? Can you say “political inferno”?

    The only way that this doesn’t become a nuclear meltdown is if:

    1) Some respected Black legislator openly declares that he is challenging Burris;

    and also states that “a Senate seat ought to be earned, in an open political process. Let any and all who think they have solutions this state needs, run”.

    I hope IL can still have such people. I am not so sure……


  59. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 9:49 am:

    Mendoza was good.

    If you want to know whether or not Burris knew what he was doing or was just an old, confused man, just read the transcript of his exchange with Rep. Tracy. I think it’s pretty clear he knew exactly what he was doing. He dodges very skillfully.


  60. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 9:59 am:

    Don’t give Roland too much credit for knowing all about the AG’s office, after all he thought the “General” in Attorney General was a military-style title rather than a description of what types of matters he was the Attorney of the state for.


  61. - Larry Mullholland - Wednesday, Feb 18, 09 @ 10:46 am:

    Wonding if Durbin trip w Alexi (The Next US Senate Candidate) and the delayed release of the Burris info have anything in common…hmmm?

    Just a coinkadink I am sure


  62. - tye - Thursday, Mar 5, 09 @ 7:52 am:

    check this out:

    orr for senator: http://iblogwesthartford.blogspot.com/2009/03/next-senator-from-illinois-should-be.html


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