Powered by Blogger.

Search Google

Monday, February 16, 2009

Should Senator Burris Resign

The Washington Post is reporting on how "Burris Revises and Extends." Chris at The Washington Post, The Fix says: Illinois Sen. Roland Burris appears to be backtracking -- rapidly -- on sworn testimony regarding his contacts with the associates of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in the runup to his appointment to the seat vacated by President Obama. Burris initially told an Illinois House panel that he had spoken with only one close Blagojevich adviser but in an affidavit filed over the weekend Burris acknowledges that he had contact with five advisers including the governor's brother. Republicans in the state are calling on Burris to resign; he is resisting that call to date although it remains unclear whether Senate Democrats will ramp up pressure on him to do so to finally excise the political boil that is Blagojevich. More HERE

Rick Pearson and Janet Hook of The Chicago Tribune provide greater detail to all that is going on. They report that Burris' first description of his contacts with Blagojevich came in a sworn affidavit to the impeachment panel on Jan. 5 in which he attested that other than speaking to one of Blagojevich's lawyers on Dec. 26 about his interest in the Senate seat, "there was not any contact between myself or any of my representatives with Gov. Blagojevich or any of his representatives regarding my appointment to the United States Senate."

Three days later, Burris appeared before the impeachment panel to give sworn testimony.

He was asked specifically about any contact he had with insiders that included Robert Blagojevich, the former governor's brother, as well as chief of staff John Harris and former aides John Wyma, Lon Monk and Doug Scofield. Burris testified only about a discussion he had with Monk dating back to July.

In the recently filed affidavit, however, Burris acknowledged that he spoke with the others, including three times with Blagojevich's brother who was soliciting fundraising help, as well as Ed Smith, a Downstate labor ally of the former governor. Burris said he rejected Rob Blagojevich's request to help the former governor's fundraising.

The new affidavit prompted calls by Illinois House Republicans, including Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), to convene the Democratic-led House impeachment panel and ask it to refer Burris' affidavits and testimony to the Sangamon County state's attorney, Republican John Schmidt, for investigation over possible perjury. Durkin was the lead Republican on the House panel and questioned Burris about his contacts.

According to transcripts of the hearing, Durkin asked Burris if he discussed the Senate vacancy with "any members of the governor's staff or anyone closely related to the governor, including with family members or any lobbyists connected with [Blagojevich]" and then named Harris, Blagojevich, Scofield, Monk and Wyma as well as deputy governor Bob Greenlee.

After conferring with his attorney, Burris responded, "I talked to some friends about my desire to be appointed, yes."

On Sunday, Burris maintained his "yes" answer applied to every name Durkin asked about except Greenlee.

"There's a 'yes' answer in that it means I talked to all of those individuals," he said.

Asked why he went on to answer a follow up question by Durkin that only detailed contacting Monk, the senator blamed his Republican questioner who "took us off in a different direction" that didn't allow him to give a complete answer. "Why didn't he come back to those [others] if he was interested in them?" Burris said of Durkin.

After Burris' news conference, Durkin said it was "pretty clear what I was asking" at the hearing. "There's nothing from what I heard in the press conference that changes my mind" in seeking a perjury investigation, he said.

Burris' attorney said the senator decided to file a new affidavit after reading a copy of the transcript of his testimony at the hearing "to make sure there was nothing left out."

Burris said on Sunday that the initial affidavit was in response to the panel's interest in how he obtained the appointment and that the most recently filed affidavit "dealt with contacts I had about the Senate seat. Look at the difference."

Illinois Republican House members weren't the only ones voicing concern.

Rep. Susanna Mendoza (D-Chicago), an alternate member of the impeachment panel, said she did not believe Burris had been "forthright and honest" in his answers to the committee in light of his newly filed affidavit and said she would support an investigation of the new senator.

"They can try to worm their way out of this as lawyers, but to the regular people this is the equivalent of lying," Mendoza said. More HERE

AAPP: Now the question is should Burris resign? Well, I'm with Mark Brown at another great Chicago newspaper the Chicago Sun Times, who writes, "I'll leave it to the proper investigative bodies to decide whether Roland Burris committed perjury last month in testimony before the Illinois House impeachment committee."

Mark Brown is also right on point when he says, "From a strict legal perspective, maybe he didn't. But I'll tell you straight up, our new U.S. senator proved himself to be a lying little sneak." More HERE

AAPP: Enough said...

Search This Blog

Contact Your Elected Representative

African American Pundit encourages you to contact your elected officials/representatives and share your thoughts on current events and government policy. All politics is local!

Below you'll find links to e-mail and postal addresses, and phone numbers for key elected officials.

Employment Opportunities

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP