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More entertaining Sen. Burris news, this time on son Burris II

Not an all-around awful day for Democratic Sen. Roland Burris of Illinois.

Just terrible this time.

As you may have heard, the legally embattled junior Illinois senator replacement for Barack Obama, who was maneuvered into that job by the wily but also legally embattled now ex-Democratic governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, has refused to resign after an unfolding series of revelations about his relationship, fundraising and contacts with/for the impeached governor and his staff.

Now comes one more revelation, the kind of news that causes immune Illinois voters to say, "So?"

Now ousted Illinois Democrat Governor Rod Blagojevich with Roland Burris, his nominee to fill the vacant US Senate seat of Barack Obama

It seems, according to an investigation by the Chicago Sun-Times, that Blagojevich's state government hired the son of Roland Burris last fall as the senior counsel for the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

It's a $75,000-a-year job that oversees the authority's foreclosure actions. His name, appropriately enough, is Roland Burris II.

The son got the state job Sept. 10, right around the time his father says he contacted Blagojevich to express an interest in the anticipated vacant Senate seat.

But there's another problem. Actually two. Burris II started the foreclosure enforcement job three weeks after his own mortgage company started foreclosure against him. And, the newspaper reports, a couple of weeks before that, the Internal Revenue Service placed a $34,163 tax lien on Burris II's house for back taxes from 2004 to 2007.

Illinois' new governor, Pat Quinn, also a Democrat, of course said Thursday that there's no proof of wrongdoing. He's right, of course. There are an amazing number of coincidences like that in Illinois.

And in the Illinois machine's culture, who wouldn't hire the financially troubled son of a fellow Democrat whom you want to raise campaign funds for you? It's the least a governor could do to benefit the veteran Burris -- and himself. Win-win.

But Gov. Quinn thinks he'll have someone investigate the situation anyway. Which means he intends to run for governor next year.

Good thing the Internal Revenue Service is now overseen by Timothy Geithner, who now works for Obama and understands inadvertent tax mistakes that last for years. Otherwise, the son of the Democratic senator could be in real tax trouble.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo:  Now ousted Illinois Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich with now-Sen. Roland Burris. Credit: Tannen Maury / EPA

Comments () | Archives (3)

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How much of the deficit is due to democrat tax cheats ?The list of theese scumbags gets longer every day and govs judas & Blago are not the only dems
mired in pay for play.Hope that punk Orsag factors all those in his budgetary projections.let's make the tax hike bigger to compensate all the dems fraudes.

I guess I don't necessarily understand what is wrong here, other than another example of a public official (Burris II) not paying his taxes. But if Burris is going to pay-off Blago for the senate seat, shouldn't Burris be giving Blago something, not the other way around, i.e. Blago giving Burris II a job?

In reply to Scott: Boy are you dense. Where do you think that Burris was going to come up with the money to pay off Blago? Burris takes some of the taxpayers' money that his son gets from his new "job" and funnels it to Blago's campaign coffers. That's the time-honored way of corrupt Chicago politics. Get elected and then put as many friends and family on the public payroll working non-existent or cushy jobs. When it becomes too obvious then you get your politician friends to hire your friends and family, and give them a kickback. Blago couldn't go this route with one of his friends or family back in September because he was already under investigation for corruption.


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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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