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Roland Burris: I'm no Rod Blagojevich

Illinois Gov. Rod Blaojevich appointing Roland Burris to the U.S. Senate seat once held by Barack Obama

No one is accusing Sen. Roland Burris of being in the same league as former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich when it comes to ethical lapses.

Blago, as he's known to bloggers and cable news show hosts everywhere, is alleged to have used a pay-for-play scheme to determine who would make the best senator to replace Barack Obama. That's big-time corruption, big enough to prompt his impeachment -- after a lengthy oration that you can read here -- by the Illinois Senate and federal charges that could lead to jail time.

But Illinois Republicans are charging that Burris, appointed by Blagojevich and seated reluctantly by Democrats in the U.S. Senate, didn't exactly tell the whole truth when asked by legislators at Blago's impeachment trial whether he'd had any contact with the former governor's associates.

Asked on Jan. 8 about his contacts with the governor's allies, Burris mentioned conversations with former Blago chief of staff Lon Monk. Then over the weekend, he filed a new affidavit disclosing that Blagojevich's brother, Robert, had approached him three times about making a campaign contribution to the governor. And also that he'd expressed his interest in the Senate seat to three other Blagojevich allies: John Harris, Doug Scofield and John Wyma. Burris said he did not disclose the conversations earlier because he was not asked directly about them.

"I've always conducted myself with honor and integrity," Burris said at an emotional Sunday news conference. "I did not donate one single dollar ... or promise any favors of any kind."

Illinois Republicans are weighing perjury charges. "I can't believe anything that's coming from Mr. Burris, at this point," state Rep. Jim Durkin said.

And depending on what happens in Illinois, reports this morning, Senate colleagues could launch an ethics committee probe to determine whether, only a month after being sworn in, Burris should be expelled. Jim Manley, senior communications director for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), said:

Clearly, it would have been better if Sen. Burris had provided this information when he first testified. Sen. Reid is reviewing the affidavit and will await any action by Illinois legislative leaders after they review the matter.

One thing is clear: the race to fill the seat in 2010 is now open for business.

-- Johanna Neuman

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Photo: Scott Olson / Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (12)

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Either Burris is guilty or he has been set up by Obama. I have never seen the media go after anyone like they did with Burris. The press either smells blood in the water or Obama's team has encouraged them to discredit this man. He certainly did not handle the relentless questions well; either he is innocent and the media confused him with their barrage or he is dirty.

You were expecting him to confess??

LOL What do you expect this is CHICAGO politics. Come on this has been happening, since Mayor Daley senior. Are they republican nope they are DEMS. For demselves and only for demselves. LOL

"Not exactly telling the truth..?" Burris was flat out lying, not failing to omit certain information, when he testified to the Illinios State congress. He should be charged with perjury and forced out of office. More dirty Democrats in DC. He and Charile Wrangle make a pretty pair.

Give Burris some credit - his lies and omissions held together long enough to get him confirmed. Since he was a political has-been when Blago picked him, what did he have to lose by concealing the truth? Nothing, and he had a Senate seat to gain.

Now, he's entrenched in office, will claim partisanship and racism are behind any effort to oust him, and run out the clock at least until the end of his current term.

Congratulations, Senator! Your gamble paid off and you're in.

Ok, this has got to stop.

Chicago's infection they call corruption in politics has to come to an end and we gave Roland Burris the benefit of doubt and he ends up lying also.

He has to go.

They let him stay in the Senate just long enough to pass the Porkulus bill. Everybody knew this guy was on the way out, and without his vote, and a vacant Dem seat, they wouldn't have had enough votes to pass it.

That's why it was such an all-fired rush to pass it through the Senate, but not a big rush for President Obamination to sign it into law.

But now he's expendable.

Fortunately, with his seat and some others possibly moving into the (R) column next year, maybe the atrocity of a trillion dollars of pork, along with the sneak-in provisions of socialized medicine, can be reversed.

BTW, can the GOP dump Spectre, Snow and Collins now?

Was it Ben Franklin that said "Sometimes a half truth is a great lie"? It it clear from the legislators transcripts and questions that they wanted to know about any improper influence by Blogo regarding the senate appointment. Burris "forgot" my foot. The man is damaged goods, dump him before he does any more damage.

"never seen the media go after anyone like this?" Is that a sick joke Russ?

You must not pay any attention to the average Republican's media coverage.

Did this man learn nothing from the Carter years? Normal people tend to question the honesty of people who insist that they're honest.

I believe they got the quote from Reid's spokesman wrong. What I think he said is "the Senator is trying to figure out how to unclown himself. He recognizes he has shown NO spine or leadership in anything he has done in his current position, and resents the fact that dirty Chicago politics has just made his stupidity that much more transparent in this circumstance. He is looking at his options, hoping the Illinois Senate or someone else will take care of this before he is called upon to do so."


Your guys don't even know the legal definition of perjury. Stop tripping. He might be slimy, but he probably didnt commit a crime. The two are mutually exlcusive.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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