December 31st, 2008
11:56 AM ET
9 years ago

Burris: Charges against Blagojevich shouldn't affect him

Roland Burris said Gov. Rod Blagojevich is innocent until proven guilty.

Roland Burris said Gov. Rod Blagojevich is innocent until proven guilty.

(CNN) - The man appointed by embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to fill President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat said Wednesday his appointment to the position is legal, despite the charges against the governor.

WATCH: Burris on American Morning

Former Illinois Attorney Gen. Roland Burris said Blagojevich is innocent until proven guilty, even though his behavior "is reprehensible."

"I don't look upon the governor's problems as my problems. I look at the governor's problems as his problems," Burris said.

Blagojevich faces allegations of influence peddling, among other charges.

The governor, a Democrat, on Tuesday named Burris to serve the last two years of Obama's Senate term.

Obama said Tuesday it is disappointing that Blagojevich ignored warnings from Senate Democrats about appointing a successor to his Senate seat.

Senate Democratic leaders have said they will block the appointment and are urging the governor to step down after his arrest on corruption charges - a move Obama endorsed.

"Roland Burris is a good man and a fine public servant, but the Senate Democrats made it clear weeks ago that they cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat," Obama said in a statement.

"I agree with their decision, and it is extremely disappointing that Gov. Blagojevich has chosen to ignore it."

Full story

Filed under: Popular Posts • Rod Blagojevich • Roland Burris
soundoff (286 Responses)
  1. Tim in NC

    Mr. Burris,

    You're an idiot. Any qualifications you might have aside, the fact that you accepted the appointment KNOWING that the senate will simply shoot you down only speaks to your lack of common sense.

    December 31, 2008 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  2. Toby in Illinois

    Much as I dislike Blagojevich (as a registered Democrat I actually voted Green in 2006), he is still legally the governor and has the responsibility of making this appointment. The law has not been changed in the interim. The refusal to seat Burris would thus amount to an "extra-legal" act, however you want to stretch constitutional interpretations.
    Remember: Once you bend the law for virtue, you allow others to bend it for vice.

    December 31, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |

    They can't find someone younger?

    In my opinion, these old people in Congress are part of the problems affecting this, my beloved country.

    Happy New Year everybody.

    December 31, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  4. I told you so

    oh, of course not.... here is an example of one man who in public criticizes the governor but behind close doors is begging for the US senate job.

    This is just another example of dirty politicians. NO HE SHOULD NOT GET THE JOB!!!!!!!!!!

    December 31, 2008 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  5. Retired Army in San Antonio

    Guys.....this is a done deal.

    The U.S. Constitution clearly states that the only challenge the Senate can make to an appointed or elected Senator is based on the age, citizenship or residency of the Senator.

    Burris is old enough, he's a U.S. citizen and he's a life-long Illinois resident.

    The Illinois State Constitution gives sole power to appoint a Senator to a vacant U.S. Senate seat to the Governor. Blago is still the legal Governor of Illinois......and the certification of the Secretary of State for Illinois is not a requirement for the Governor's appointment to go through.

    Like I said.........done deal.

    December 31, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  6. mb

    Burris, should not have to defend himself with accepting this appointment. If by law, the governor could and did appoint him. Then he should be seated and run for reelection in 2010. If this had been another state besides Illinois, would this had been such a major issue? I think not. We should move on and let the judicial system work out.

    December 31, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  7. Newport News, VA

    Although I think Burriss will be a good pick for U.S. Senate, I beleive the state of Illinois needs to hold a special election regardless of what the legislation wants. The job of filling the seat is that of the governor's, but under his special circumstances, that job duty should be stripped from him.

    December 31, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  8. Former Obama Voter

    Whew I just came to my senses this weekend. Our economy is in shambles and we just put the most inexperienced and corrupt politician available in the White House. It was a national fit of panic, but I have recovered from that and I hope everyone else does to. Not that it matters, he is in there for 4 years at least no matter what.

    Man, what a bitter realization but at the same time liberating.

    December 31, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  9. cc

    This guy donated $20k to Gov's campaign, stated publicly on Dec. 13 that Blagoyevich's actions were shameful while at the same time campaigned behind the scenes to get the appointment, shamelessly throwing the race card into the arena at the same time, will serve as a guy with no influence or power because of the taint hanging over him thus not able to serve the people of Illinois under these circumstances, and helps make a case for the Gov's "fitness', a guy Burris himself said was shameless. And the media said the guy is clean??? Let's call a spade a spade, he's a guy at the end of his career, who failed to mention anything about his platform with respect to the major economic and military issues facing the nation while making his case that he should be the appointee, who after serving one term as a caretaker as Attorney General was resoundingly repeatedly defeated by the voters of Illinois when seeking other high office is supposed to be taken seriously???? And he says he'll sue for the right to take his seat? Why is this about his rights and not the rights of the people of Illinois? This fiasco is a result of a complete failure to lead on the part of the Illinois legislature who could have prevented this fiasco by calling a special election and removing the power from the Gov! Will a solidly blue state turn red again???

    December 31, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  10. Fitz

    Well the fact that the Gov. has not been found guilty of any crime as of this appointment pretty much ties everyone's hands. Legally he can appoint someone and there is not a whole lot that can be done about it. Reid and everyone else can dislike it and say they won't accept him, and all the midia can swarm and all the hoopla but it isn't enough to talk. They basially have to go thru legal hoops and ladders because by law and it is written, the Gov. can appoint Burris and that's that.

    December 31, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  11. Ann

    What legal grounds do the Senate have other than a dislike for the Governor, not to seat this man? Funny how Reid can take a stand on this issue against a sitting Governor of his own party who has not been convicted of a crime yet when it came to taking a stand on anything in the Senate the past two years he has been hopeless. I think Reid and the Democratic Senate caucus are playing fast and loose with their own ethics at this point if they don't seat a qualified appointee. It looks as if they are willing to sacrifice the representation of those citizens of Illinois for their own political gain. Get over it and move on!

    December 31, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  12. Anne

    Unfortunately for Mr. Burris, he could be honest as the day is long but because of Blagovevich, that stain will hang over his head.

    December 31, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  13. JB

    Tim in NC, you are right, but, I also bet he said, "I am black, they wouldn't dare".

    December 31, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  14. carlo

    If Burris is as qualified as most have said he is (I have no reason to doubt it), why would he put his career on the line by accepting an appointment from a governor whose impeachment HE called for just a week and a half ago? I know why. Pure EGO, which is why Burris has already memorialized himself by carving his accomplishments (with plenty of room left over for additions) on an empty tomb. Talk about creepy. Perhaps this is why Blag likes him so much.

    December 31, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  15. Erik in Real Pennsylvania

    Innocence is presumed until a court finds one guilty, and no cop, prosecutor or media circus should be able to take that away.
    I would not be surprised if the governor of Illinois is found guilty of corruption, and/or impeached for this reason by his legislature. But I am troubled by how quickly the Senate wants to invalidate his responsibilities before these proceedings occur, because of popular media-encouraged sentiment.

    Might the Senate be rejecting an excellent appointee to spite his appointer? State comptroller for over ten years, four years experience as Attorney General of Illinois, holds a J.D. from Howard University, an accountant with considerable expertise in finance. If I lived in Illinois, I'd be glad to have him represent me in the Senate. There are other ways for the Senate to to express their concerns about Blagojevich than to reject this qualified gentleman out of hand.

    December 31, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  16. DWoods

    Burris may be the best person for the job, but at the risk of an ill-connected relationship, he should have declined. I just hope neither one attend the inauguration. Chicago has been corrupt since and prior to Prohibition. People don't want to say that Capone, Daly, Thompson, the other Daly, Ryan, Blago, Jackson Jr., Chicago Police Department, and on and on, are all stirring in the same pot–CORRUPTION!!

    December 31, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  17. jw

    Good grief Burris, the Gov just offered the job of a lifetime and you go bite his freaking hand off!

    December 31, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  18. Obama-Blago Scandal

    Burris wants it both ways–he supports Blago's right to select him because he wants to be the next Senator from Illinois but he also has joined the chorus of condemnation against the man who appointed him. Burris is going out of his way to seem like a nice guy in his NBC interviews. He says hello to all the viewers and wishes everyone a Happy New Years. These guys are both a trip. This is great fun to watch. How about you, Mr. Obama, are you having fun yet? Ha!

    December 31, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  19. southerncousin

    Having lived in Illinois, I know I can safely state that their is no such thing as a non corrupt politician there (not trying to insult the PE on purpose, but if the shoe fits, etc.), but Mr. Burris came pretty close to being actually working for the voters. Why in the world can't Illinois just have a special election (and keep ACORN out of it) and let the citizens of the state just decide the question?

    December 31, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  20. Sue

    Well, ya gotta hand it to Blago. He is as arrogant as Bush and Cheney, who will never admit their crimes either. However, Blago did not kill anyone, did not subvert the Constitution and the Geneva Convention, and did not lie repeatedly to the American people about going to war. He is a criminal, and will be punished, but I wish half the time spent on him would be put to use in impeaching Bush and finally restoring justice to this country, before he pardons himself and his cronies.

    December 31, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  21. H


    December 31, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  22. E.M.C.

    The governor, despite the charges, has the obligation to appoint a senator. All of the theatrical, chest pounding politicians threatening not to certify or to block the seating of his appointment don't have the authority and should get about the important business of trying to improve the economy. How much do you want to bet that every one of the jokers in congress has done similar things to benefit themselves as Blagojevich is alleged to have done? Their advantage? They haven't been caught yet. When they are, they'll be bleating their innocence, too. It's become tired as a comment, but innocent until proven guilty is the way it's supposed to be...

    December 31, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  23. Ted:Canada

    Blago – using the race card to get himself off of the hook...

    What disgrace!!! to democracy!

    While he first used "money" to sell the seat...He now used the race card to sell the seat and get himself out of hot water...

    WHAT A "political prostitute"!

    People who believe in DEMOCRACY and whoes children fought and died for DEMOCRACY need to get him OUT!

    FOR the YOUNG MEN who give up their life up for DEMOCRACY


    "Latest 3 fallen soldiers make last trip back to Canada
    Last Updated: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 | 6:27 PM ET CBC News
    Mourners held Canadian flags and yellow roses Tuesday as a military plane brought home the remains of three soldiers killed in southern Afghanistan."

    December 31, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  24. Peter (Chicago)

    Anyone who accepted this appointment is as tainted as Blago. With 58 confirmed democrats in the Senate, we could have gone a couple more months to ensure the integrity of this process.

    December 31, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  25. Cathy in VT

    Asked why he accepted the offer, despite opposition from his own party, Burris told CNN's "American Morning" because I want to be a senator dammit!.

    December 31, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
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