December 30th, 2008
01:47 PM ET
6 years ago

Sources: Senate Democrats to block Burris appointment

(CNN) - Two Democratic officials tell CNN Senate Democratic leaders are planning to block Gov. Rod Blagojevich's appointment of Roland Burris to the Senate seat once held by President-elect Obama.

The officials said this has nothing to do with Burris, an African-American leader and former state attorney general: "anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich can not be an effective representative of Illinois and will not be seated by the Democratic caucus," said one.

A spokesman for President-elect Obama says the transition has no comment on this. But they note Obama has previously called on the governor to resign.

UPDATE: Senate Democratic leadership released a statement saying Blagojevich's appointment of Burris was "unfair to the people of Illinois and it will ultimately not stand."

(Full statement as released after the jump)

SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP STATEMENT ON GOV. BLAGOJEVICH'S APPOINTMENT OF ROLAND BURRIS TO THE VACANT U.S. SENATE SEAT FROM ILLINOIS

Washington, DC-Senate Democratic Leadership made the following statement today in response to reports that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will nominate Roland Burris to fill the vacant Illinois Senate seat. Earlier this month, all 50 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus called on Blagojevich to step down and under no circumstance make an appointment to fill the seat. The text of that letter is below the statement:

"It is truly regrettable that despite requests from all 50 Democratic Senators and public officials throughout Illinois, Gov. Blagojevich would take the imprudent step of appointing someone to the United States Senate who would serve under a shadow and be plagued by questions of impropriety. We say this without prejudice toward Roland Burris's ability, and we respect his years of public service. But this is not about Mr. Burris; it is about the integrity of a governor accused of attempting to sell this United States Senate seat. Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus.

"Next week we will start one of the most important debates of the year – outlining an economic recovery plan to create jobs and invest in America. And in the coming weeks, we will be working to protect homeowners and consumers, make America more energy independent, strengthen our national security, and improve health care and educational opportunities. There is much work to do and a lot at stake. It is thus critical that Illinois and every other state have two seated Senators without delay.

"We again urge Gov. Blagojevich to not make this appointment. It is unfair to Mr. Burris, it is unfair to the people of Illinois and it will ultimately not stand. The governor must put the interests of the people of Illinois and all Americans first by stepping aside now and letting his successor appoint someone who we will seat."


Filed under: Rod Blagojevich • Roland Burris • Senate
soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. California Gold

    Blagovech is a poster child for denial.

    December 30, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  2. tim

    Okay, Let's review
    Politicians want to impeach the Gov. but they don't want to hear all
    tapes and interview the witnesses.
    Gov. want to appoint new Senator which he is allowed to do unless
    he is impeached.
    Politicians in Washington don't want to accept the appointment but
    also do not want all tapes released or witnesses spoken to in fear
    that it could affect the President Elect who has his people on the tapes.
    Rezko is in holding and not being sentenced ever thought he was
    convicted long ago because he is "cooperating".
    I don't have to listen to Hannity, Rush or any orther right winger to
    know that this is a mess with lots of implications.

    December 30, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. Obama-Blago Scandal

    Let Burris have the black Senate seat. He's too old to do any harm. He can keep it warm until Michelle runs in 2012.

    December 30, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. Morgan

    Good for Democratic leadership to stand up and show some ethics and morals. I heard the GOP leaders want to release a "satirical" ethnic laced song about Blagojevich and Burris...

    December 30, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. PDX Gal

    Blago is in the wrong party. If he were a rethug then his own party would love him for being a crook instead of trying to stop him.

    December 30, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. S. Robinson

    Can you believe this guy?????
    If I were the candidate of his choice, I would do everything in my power not to have that happen to me. I would withdraw my name from any recommendation. Buris should make it clear he wants nothing to do with this circus fest in order to save his career.
    Too much!

    December 30, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. TKD

    The statement simply says he won't be seated "by the Democratic Caucus," which is a party organization. It doesn't say he won't be seated as a senator, because the Senate lacks the power to block that, as long as he is validly appointed, and meets the minimum qualifications in the Constitution. They could expel him after he is seated, but that would be ludicrous - unfair to Burris, and unfair to the people of Illinois.

    December 30, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. Juan Grain

    Blago you are a funny man, you will win the silly rabbit award in 09!

    December 30, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  9. magella

    Dear show me state,

    If you are going to post something, can you make it the least bit coherent?

    Chipster–I hate to say it, but I agree with you. As hateful as Blagojevich may seem, he has not yet been convicted of anything and as such the standing process should be followed. I don't think this taints Burriss's name, either.

    December 30, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. Shane

    THIS GUY HAS SOME GALL!!!!!! EVEN THOUGH HE HAS NOT BEEN CONVICTED- HE SHOULD STEP ASODE FROM APPOINTING THE SENATE SEAT. HE SHOULD CALL ON HIS LT GOVERNOR OR CALL A SPECIAL ELECTION. I UNDERSTAND THAT HE WANTS TO FIGHT THESE CHARGES AND THAT IS FINE, BUT HE SHOULD NOT APPOINT ANYONE TO THE SENATE SEAT OR THE SEAT BEING VACATED BY RAHM EMMANUEL

    December 30, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. BUSH BEGONE AND NOW 75% OF AMERICANS FINALLY AGREE!

    Under what reason? The guy being appointed has done nothing so on what basis can the leadership refuse to admit him to the Senate?

    Blago is still the governor and it is completely within his power to appoint Burris.

    Reid and crew your going to look silly when you have to back away from this threat.

    December 30, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. Chris

    I wonder how much $$$ Burris put up to deserve that appointment!!!!

    Chris from NC

    December 30, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  13. D-MI

    Show Me State:

    Please go back to huffing model airplane glue, paint thinner, or whatever else you have on hand... leave the political discourse to adults and people who have not destroyed their gray matter...

    December 30, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  14. Let the postpartisan era begin

    How did this story become a reason to attack Republicans?

    December 30, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. Bob Long

    So ,CNN that should be the second lead on your website right after Blago's comment.

    December 30, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. Erik in Real Pennsylvania

    What crap. Until the governor is impeached or resigns, the appointment of a replacement senator is his responsibility. The Senate leaders are way out of line.

    December 30, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. Greg

    geee...let me guess why....is it because Barack himself wants to appoint his own pet poodle.

    December 30, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  18. Chipster

    To show me state:

    "He had told him long ago with a fresh Pack Of Joe the Camel . You must nominate Ayers . Wright."

    I'm curious to know, and perhaps you can explain, why people make up things like this. You know this isn't true and that there is really no basis for it. You know that neither of these men would be desirable even if they weren't controversial figures in the election. So, why make up this nonsense? It's weird and accomplishes nothing. So, I'm just curious.

    December 30, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  19. Once you vote Black

    You guys are being too hard on Blago. So far we have nothing but hear say. The worst part is the impact it will have on his pic.

    December 30, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. pam Eugene OR

    Burriss needs to decline the nomination and Blagojevich needs to sit down and shut up! It is the kiss of death for anyone he appoints.

    December 30, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. email4kh

    Blagojevich is clearly a sociopath.

    December 30, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  22. Brian - Trinidad

    The real obscenity that that great loser Reid is ducking is the bullying of the Governor of New York to appoint Caroline Kennedy to Clinton's vacant senate seat.This IS payback for Kennedy's early public support for Obama over Clinton.

    December 30, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. Mick

    To some of the commenters on this board, this is about the Senate Democrats doing the right thing. It amazes me how some of you use this as a forum to take jabs at matters peripheral to the issue. Obviously, some people still haven't gotten over Mr. Obama being elected. Get used to it and stop crying! You're the whiny bunch that contributes to the stagnation in this country.

    December 30, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  24. Chipster

    How is Reid showing any sort of morals by wasting time posturing on this issue that has not been resolved and has not been proven. Today, there were statements made by those investigating Blagojevich that the tapes don't actually reveal any offers in exchange for the Senate seat. If this is true, this entire investigation could turn out to be nothing but political witch-hunting.

    Until someone has been proved guilty, Reid has no right to block an appointee. He's only proving, once again, that he's blowing in the political wind instead of handling the nation's business. Democrats need to replace him with a new Majority leader.

    December 30, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  25. GZ

    So THIS is where the Democratic leadership shows some spine?

    December 30, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
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