Monday, February 16, 2009

Blagojemess update: Roland Burris under an ethical cloud

"I, Roland Burris, swear to tell the truth, the whole truth..."

To no one's surprise, Illinois' Blagojemess continues into its umpteenth chapter after the revelation that Roland Burris had several conversations with Governor Rod Blagojevich's brother, Robert, in which Robert Blagojevich asked him for contributions to Hot Rod's campaign coffers -- exactly the kind of solicitations that figured prominently in the charges on which Blago was arrested by the Feds. While Burris says he never forked over any dough, it's clear that he was less than forthcoming when being asked about the nature of his contact with Blago by the press, Senate leaders, the Illinois Legislature, and just about everyone else in the country.

A special problem is that he failed to mention it on January 5th when he testified under oath before the committee of the Illinois House of Representatives considering the Governor's impeachment. Burris could be accused of perjury. His explanation? They didn't ask him!!

Burris disclosed the dealings with brother Robert a month after his testimony. In an affidavit on February 5th, he claimed that he was asked about contact with an aide to the Governor and answered it but "then was asked another question and did not mention anyone else." Asked by a reporter why he didn't take pains to clarify the record, he said, "“Because I was answering other questions.”

Of course, this is ludicrous, because the one thing everyone wanted to know from him was whether he had been a party to any of Blago's machinations to get something in return for the Senate appointment. That's why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made his testifying under oath about that very subject the one condition for seating him in the Senate.

Republicans are calling on Burris to resign. State Democrats are mulling a primary challenge. Reid and company haven't yet figured out what to do, but one possibility is a Senate ethics probe that could result in his expulsion.

Blago is not even the Governor anymore, but the Blagojemess lives on.

Have a thought? Post a comment.

No comments:

Post a Comment