January 8th, 2009
05:25 PM ET
11 years ago

Burris denies quid pro quo for Senate appointment

Roland Burris says his selection for the Senate had nothing to do with money or any pay-to-play scheme.

Roland Burris says his selection for the Senate had nothing to do with money or any pay-to-play scheme.

(CNN) - Roland Burris on Thursday denied any quid pro quo with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for his appointment to the U.S. Senate during testimony before a panel weighing whether to impeach Blajojevich.

Burris also told lawmakers he had no conversations with Blagojevich about his desire to step into the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

The former state attorney general appeared before an impeachment committee of state legislators in Springfield, Illinois, to explain his ties to that state's tainted governor.

Illinois Republicans want to know whether Burris, a Democrat, was "paying to play." GOP lawmakers point to state records showing that Burris and his lobbying firm contributed more than $20,000 to the governor's political campaigns.

The question is reverberating back to Washington, where Democratic leaders have been blocking Burris from taking the Senate seat. They say his appointment is tainted because it was made by Blagojevich, who was arrested last month and accused of trying to sell the seat for money and influence.

Blagojevich has not been indicted and remains governor. He and Burris say the appointment is legal.

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Filed under: Rod Blagojevich • Roland Burris
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. No Incumbents 2010

    Are there no Kennedy's in Illinois?

    January 8, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  2. When the Children Born Under Barack Turn 24

    Sorry Ghuman ... racism is not dead in America with the election of Barack.... Nor will we stop pressing the point. Talk to me in 2040.

    It may not be racism in the Burris situation but the facts are clear. It's a legal appointment which no one, not White, not Reid have any legal basis to oppose. Like it or not Blago made this appointment as the Governor of Illinios. He outsmarted his critics. Seat Roland Burris.

    If you want less cries of racism, follow the rules. It is when the rules get bent in favor of the majority and against the minority that claims of bias will be made.

    January 8, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  3. Mari

    RIGHT........ Illinois voters should be able to have a special election for the Obama senate seat.

    Blagojevich lost his right to appoint someone when he attempted to sell the seat!

    January 8, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  4. Buddhawest

    I agree that Mr. Burris' appointment is legal; however, I strongly believe it is neither ethical nor moral. I hope Mr. Burris can put aside his blind ambition to become a senator at any cost, and withdraw his name from this tainted nomination pending a more legitimate process.

    January 8, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  5. Steve, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    There will be no special election. The Democrats are going to protect their Senate seat just as much as Norm Coleman is trying to save a Republican seat in Minnesota. In the end, Burris and Al Franken will both be seated giving the Democrats 59 seats. No different than the Republicans covering the butt of "family values" man Senator David Vitter, (R-LA) who has some issues himself.. Republicans lvoe to crow about family values but have no problem when the daughter of their Vice Presidential nominee had child born out of wedlock. If Gov. Palin had been a Democrat Rush Limbaugh would call her a hypocrite.

    January 8, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  6. Ernie in LA

    He is too old. Dems do not like old men. Go Home.

    January 8, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  7. gl, Pittsburgh

    Ghuman – I agree with you this is not about racist. So please people don't go there.

    January 8, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  8. tess

    hey – he's a democrat – lying is part of their credentials – seat him, he fits right in!

    January 8, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  9. shumpie

    Blogo gets to give reid the finger, priceless

    January 8, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  10. Sharon

    I'm from Illinois and am totally opposed to Burris. Just the fact that he has allowed Bobby Rush to cry race and then met with a bunch of black ministers for their blessing makes me sick. Illinois has elected many fine black candidates and "elected" is the key word. We didn't want him when he ran legally, why would we want him now. Not that it matters now, he will get the seat, but will he serve again after an election – that is the real question. He is a phony and an opportunist, we deserve better.

    January 8, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  11. Ray

    I would like to take a crack at Obama senate seaif the'll want me. I am qualify better than any one trying for the seat,, I am a chief ecanomist that knows more than all the chiefs that has come and gone.. I can get things done and I do not collect fraud money I am a honest to goodness home bred citizen of the good U.nited States,OF A.merica .
    Who you give me a chance?? I could do real good for my country.

    January 8, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
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