The [Tuesday] Papers
BREAKING 12:43 P.M.: I'm late to this, but I'm only one person. I just saw it now.
"U.S. Sen. Roland Burris has acknowledged he sought to raise campaign funds for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich at the request of the governor's brother at the same time he was making a pitch to be appointed to the Senate seat previously held by President Barack Obama."
BREAKING 12:53 P.M.: Via Capitol Fax:
"Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan today referred several documents associated with U.S. Senator Roland Burris and his testimony last month before the Illinois House Special Investigative Committee to Sangamon County States Attorney John Schmidt."
PLUS: Arenda Troutman sentenced to four years.
The Roland Burris Show rolls on.
"Miller said he wouldn't approve perjury charges if the case were brought to him," the paper reports.
How do you know? There hasn't been an investigation yet.
No perjury case would be brought solely on the "evidence" at hand. Depositions would be taken, witnesses interviewed, documents subpoeaned and reviewed . . . there's no way to know what an investigation would turn up. So the question isn't whether Burris committed perjury, it's whether a perjury investigation ought to be opened. And I can't imagine a rationale for answering that with a No. Unless Irv Miller knows something we don't.
Chicago lawyer Karen Conti just made another point on Fox Chicago's Good Day Chicago; Conti isn't so sure that Burris perjured himself while testifying before the House impeachment panel, but says that the first affidavit Burris filed contains a "bald-faced lie" about not having contacts with members of the Blagojevich administration about his appointment.
Conti also says, though, that Burris's testimony could amount to obstruction of justice. Additionally, the impeachment panel could hold him in contempt. Finally, the U.S. Senate could expel Burris, which apparently takes a two-thirds' vote. In the least, as has been mentioned, Burris's case could be referred to the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee.
Durbin is out of the country, though that is no excuse for telling reporters via a spokesperson that he's "unavailable for comment."
Burris not only lied to the impeachment committee, he lied to the media. Sweet's transcription of a Burris press conference that she posted on her blog on January 7:
LYNN SWEET: And I think they do want to know what kind of contacts, if any, you had with Blagojevich. I've read the affidavit that you sent, but I have a question a little deeper.
"Suburban Republican Jim Durkin got things started and made such a hash of his questioning that I was surprised to learn from his Wikipedia profile that he's actually a lawyer. Hey Jim, John Marshall Law School is calling, they want their diploma back!"
Nonetheless, between his queries and those from other members, the right questions were asked.
"Chicago Democrat John Fritchey, who has been perhaps the sharpest critic of the governor, oddly kept objecting to Durkin's questions - and later that of other members - as if he was Burris' attorney. All I could figure was that Fritchey is now running for Congress in the Fifth District and is lining up his ducks by showing he can be a go-along guy."
During Durkin's questioning of Burris, Fritchey objected, saying, "Our mission today is to investigate Rod Blagojevich, not Roland Burris."
And then there was this exchange:
DURKIN: If you were aware of a quid pro quo, what would you have done?
Of course, we know now that Rob Blagojevich solicited a campaign contribution from Roland Burris at the time Burris was seeking the Senate seat, and that the Blagojevichs' MO was (allegedly) seeking a quid pro quo trading campaign money for the appointment. And that Burris did not go to federal authorities.
Here's another one:
REP. BILL BLACK: Have you made any promise to the Illinos Democrat party or the national Democrat party that you will or won't be candidate in 2010?
It wasn't outside the scope to ask if some sort of deal had been made.
DURKIN: Did you talk to any members of the governor's staff or anyone closely related to the governor, including family members or any lobbyists connected with him, including, let me throw out some names - John Harris, Rob Blagojevich, Doug Scofield, Bob Greenleaf, Lon Monk, John Wyma? Did you talk to anybody . . . associated with the governor about your desire to seek the appointment prior to the governor's arrest?
The question is, what did Burris and Wright talk about before answering the question?
A) Dodge it, we'll clean it up later
Quid Pro Roland
But sources have told the Sun-Times that "Burris said he'd get back to him after the election."
Mystery Burris Theater
Burris Didn't Act Alone
A Lifetime Of Lies
"[T]hose of us in Illinois have seen firsthand the concerns that can arise when the will of the voters is replaced by the actions of one person in filling a Senate seat," Fritchey said in the statement.
He didn't mention his part in shepherding Burris through.
"But Burris' own words in recent days show the former attorney general steadily reached out to nearly every major insider who was part of Blagojevich's ever-shrinking inner circle of advisers.
"In the months before Obama's election, Burris spoke to the governor's current and former chief of staff, his chief of staff when Blagojevich was in Congress, his ex-deputy governor and political consultant, a labor leader who was Blagojevich's main conduit Downstate and the governor's brother, who tried to hit up Burris for fundraising help. Throughout it all, Burris made no secret of his interest in the Senate seat.
"Many of those Burris spoke to are part of the criminal case that federal authorities are shaping up against the former governor."
Lying Little Sneak
On November 10, Washington wrote that Burris was throwing his hat in the ring for the vacant Senate seat. "I can think of one reason it shouldn't be Burris," she wrote. "We already have an oversupply of egomaniacal blowhards in the Senate."
On January 5, she wrote that "Burris passes the credentials test with flying colors," and that "The Congressional Black Caucus must coalesce around Burris. Their response so far has been tepid."
As I've written before, I support the idea of naming an African American to the seat. But Washington seemed to have swallowed the idea that Burris was the only African American available.
She approvingly quoted Bobby Rush's claim that Burris had "impeccable credentials." Really?
"Then there's the Senate, the secretary of state and the president-elect. America's most exclusive club wants to maintain its pedigree. No members appointed by crooks, please."
Um . . . WTF?
"Secretary of State Jesse White has refused to certify the Burris appointment. It's mere paperwork, but White's stand gives Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid priceless cover. Does White want to be seen as a water-carrier?"
Jesse White was one of the few heroes of this saga. Sadly, Washington wasn't.
At least noted political analyst Stella Foster had the graciousness to not only (sort of) admit she was wrong, but to call on Burris to resign.
Geez, when you've lost Stella . . .
"Because the people who worked the hardest to put Burris in the Senate are pulpit pastors, it will be interesting to see what they do now. I mean, how do pastors justify a lie?"
The Beachwood Tip Line: One small step for mankind.
Posted on February 17, 2009
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