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. deb in Colo

    I wouldn't want to be this guy's appointee. What a kiss of death!

    December 30, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. Beverly Sublett

    I'm so glad the Senators have spoken up. Roland Burris is certainly not my choice. So I hope what the Senators do will hold up. So someone else can be appointed. Not Roland Burris.

    December 30, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. Mari

    Blagojevich should step down. He has no right to appoint anyone to anything!

    Why haven't impeachment proceedings started against this crook?

    December 30, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. Jimmy (Austin, TX)

    Honestly, this is another example of the typical Chicago politicians which we don't need in the senate, let alone the president- elect.

    December 30, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  5. Sherrol in Canada

    Mr Burris is a grown man, let him feel the heat that he so placed on himself. Blind ambition doesn't frequently work for anyone. He will fall hard.

    I can't believe he accepted this appointment.

    December 30, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. Steve

    And so this game of chess continues! Burris is by all account a non-corrupt politician, and furthermore he is African-American. Blago is putting Reid, Jesse White, and everyone involved in a tight spot. People are already falling all over themselves to back off their hard stance against the Governor because Burris fits the mold of a perfect replacement for Obama in the US Senate. It's your move Harry Reid! You're in check...

    December 30, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. Mike

    It just makes me laugh at the way people on here are praising Harry Reid for his courage. People, this is not about what is doing whats right and whats wrong....this whole case is nothing but Barry wanting to control who takes his senate seat. These charges against Blago....which if you listen to the tapes there is no crime committed....is simply Barry's way of trying to get rid of a political enemy. Now....the Senate Dems are going to strip Blago of his given authority to appoint a replacemnt so that Barry can appoint....hmmm...let me guess...Jesse Jackson Jr. and Valerie Jarret....which one....lets wait and see.

    December 30, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. Rob in NJ

    Burris is probably a crook just like Blago and Obama.

    December 30, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  9. NUTTER!!!!

    TO–show me state December 30th, 2008 2:34 pm ET
    Here is what Barry didn't Want .
    He had told him long ago with a fresh Pack Of Joe the Camel . You must nominate Ayers . Wright. UH HUH
    NO Barry told him to appoint RUSH-SEAN or YOU

    December 30, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  10. Samilton

    WHY WOULD ANYONE ACCEPT THIS APPOINTMENT KNOWING THAT IT IS CONSIDERED TO BE TAINTED?

    TELLS YOU ALOT ABOUT THE MINDSET OF SOME OF OUR POLITICIANS – BUSINESS AS USUAL!

    December 30, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  11. rich

    After watching that press confrence, my initial reaction is that the appointee is not a bad choice at all regardless of the apointers legal troubles. I think the DEMs should reconsider provided there was no hanky panky to get the seat which I doubt this appointee would have involved himself with. He appears clean.

    Bottome line, IL needs two senators ready on Day 1 in the next congress as does Barack. The seat will be up for reelection in a few years after which the people of IL could decide who should continue to serve as their senator. IMO, this is a done deal; there are more important fish to fry.

    December 30, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    Gimme a break.
    His appointee–doesn't appear to have any strings attached and appears well qualified.

    The Governor is still in office-either accept his lawfully appointed Senator–or have him impeached. You cannot have it both ways!!!

    Besides-from what most of us have heard so far–his conversations aren't much more than we have come to expect from any leader in political office. Let's see if they can actually convict him of any crimes. If being a scumbag is a crime-then we have a lot more politicians to tar and feather!!!

    December 30, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  13. Michelle

    Oh come on!! Monies raised by Burris relative to what!! That right let's bring in "back-door" vendictiveness? Do your homework democratic leaders and when you've determined Burris is credible, "back-paddle" and seat the man!"

    December 30, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  14. Keith Bonney

    He's was told not to make an appointment and he did. This man has no respect for his own party's wishes not to mention tainting Roland Burris, oh I know that is not right but politics is all about perceptions
    whether they like it or not you just can't come out and say "This should not taint him!!" and expect that all will agree, his enemy's now have ammunition to try to make him look bad nice work Blagojevich!!

    December 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. Jean2

    I am Afician American, and as I watched this news conference, I FELT SICK IN THE BOTTOM OF MY STOMACH BURIUS ALLOWED HIMSELF TO BE PLAYED IN THE NAME OF AFRICIA AMERICAN REPRESENTATION.

    HOW CAN HE BE EFFECTIVE BOWING DOING A SOFT SHOE.

    I AM HURT!!!!!!

    December 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  16. lois

    if u crook and arogant incompetent so u can run for US politic

    December 30, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. Hawkeye

    In the name of decency, can Senate Democrats do anything about Blagojevich's hair?

    December 30, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. Melissa

    Its time for some changes in gvt structure. When someone is under investigation for breaking the law, they should NOT be allowed to appoint anyone to any seat.

    As well, its time that the people be allowed to FIRE gvt officials when convicted of illegal activities.

    In any other job, a person would be fired for the type of behavior this Governor is guilty of.

    Its time that our leaders be forced to take responsibility for their actions.

    December 30, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. Matt in CT

    I love all these Demcorats who have found some new sense of "innocent until proven guilty." I'm sure it has nothing to do w/ the fact that Blagojevich is also a Democrat, or that they'd never want to lose a special election to a Republican. You guys are such horrendous hypocrites.

    December 30, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  20. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    STOP BLAGO NOW, HE WILL BRING DOWN THE INTEGRITY THE DEMOCRAT PARTY HAS WORKED SO HARD TO ACHIEVE. STOP BLAGO NOW.

    December 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  21. undecided

    why not let him have it? he can't be any more corrupt than any other politician!

    December 30, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  22. Proud American

    This position requires a total Idiot here's your guy (Richard Rohde) You could search the world high and low and never find anyone more stupid than this guy.

    December 30, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. Steve

    This move is actually a stroke of genius and a game of hardball by Blagojevich. If the Dems block this appointment, they are effectively blocking the seating of the only African-American headed to the Senate. They will be serious questions by the AA community if that happens! This is a game of double dog dare! This is gonna be interesting!

    December 30, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. Rudy

    Not a good move by Burris. Even if he is legit, he is forever tainted by this appointment and it won't stand. He should have publicly thanked the Governor and then promptly refused to accept the appointment.

    December 30, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  25. Steve

    Farrell in Houston, TX

    "THE INTEGRITY THE DEMOCRAT PARTY HAS WORKED SO HARD TO ACHIEVE"

    OMG that is the FUNNIEST thing I have ever heard in my life! I think I slightly peed myself from laughing so hard! Just because the "D" is left off whenever a Democrat politician gets in trouble, doesn't mean the party is chock full of "integrity". Before you attack me, let me clarify that the GOP is just as bad too.

    December 30, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
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