January 8th, 2009
06:31 AM ET
5 years ago

Illinois GOP wants closer look at Burris, Blagojevich ties

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Roland Burris told reporters in Washington on Wednesday his appointment has nothing to do with money.
Roland Burris told reporters in Washington on Wednesday his appointment has nothing to do with money.

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (CNN) - Did Roland Burris secure his appointment to Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat through some kind of pay to-play politics of the very sort that have tainted the man who appointed him, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich?

Republicans in the Illinois state legislature are asking that question, and they want Burris, the former Illinois attorney general, to answer in person at a hearing scheduled for Thursday on Blagojevich's impeachment.

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

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

In a written affidavit given to the impeachment panel, Burris said he had one limited conversation with the governor about the Senate seat before he was appointed. And that conversation, he said, was initiated by a Blagojevich attorney.

But records show the two men have long ties to each other - including lucrative state contracts, political contributions and even a job for the governor's wife. Those records are raising thorny questions from state officials, particularly Republicans.

Full story


Filed under: Rod Blagojevich • Roland Burris
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. John in Ohio

    Reid folded so fast I thought he was made of origami paper.

    January 8, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  2. Harry Reid

    Perhaps I was too hasty when I declared the seat was lost.

    January 8, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  3. LIP

    While they are at it, why don't they ask Harry Reid what transpired in his own conversations with Blagojevich before Burris showed up on the scene. Bladgojevich claims Reid told him not to pick Jackson and two others and Reid is denying it. Will the Democrats get rid of this guy and replace him with something a little closer to normal, please.

    January 8, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  4. Lisa V

    As a Democrat, I think that is great. They can ask the questions they need to ask and clear the air. I think Republicans and Democrats asking tough questions of Burris will aid the situation.

    January 8, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  5. ga.

    if these people would work as hard trying to fix our economy has they have trying to find a loop hole not to seat burris, we wouldn't be in the mess we are in, it seems all they do is find fault not solutions. i wish we could sweep them all out.

    January 8, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  6. Eugene

    Just Blago being Blago.

    January 8, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  7. Virginia

    As well they should-but Illinois crooks checking on more Illinois crooks? How wrong is that?????

    January 8, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. Ray Fisher

    Shouldn't this be part of the ongoing Fitzgerald investigation??? No reason to make a political statement on something already in place!!!

    January 8, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  9. obama-mama

    Burris shouldn't have accepted the offer. He better be clean, he's too old to be going to jail.

    January 8, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  10. Matt

    Take a hint GOPers, because this is why you were punished on November 4th, 2008:

    When the Dems refuse to seat him, GOPers said "he should be seated!!! stop wasting our time stupid Dems!!!"

    Now that it looks like he'll be seated, GOPers are interested in investigating the potential for establishing a scandal with it.

    As soon as you guys figure out how to take and hold a position rather than act in what you believe to be the most expedient way to serve your narrow self-interests...i.e., grow some principles and integrity...you'll start making progress.

    January 8, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  11. Grimm

    Well, I'm curious as to why the Ill GOP switched messages. First they condemned the Democrats for not seating him immediately. Now that it looks like he will be seated, which by law he should be, all of a sudden the Ill GOP wants a "closer look?" That it is truly baffling...

    January 8, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  12. Erika, KS

    Stop punishing the man! Punish the man he appointed him! That would be the governor of Illinois. The people of this state deserve to have representative in Congress.

    January 8, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  13. tony

    Is it any secret that the Republicans want Burris seated because they want a scandal-plagud senator tied to Blagojevich, so that they can run against him in 2010?

    January 8, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  14. Mari

    Here is the problem:

    Blagojevich is under investigation, IF he had an ounce of decency he would not have appointed anyone!

    Burris accepted an appointed that IS tainted.

    This IS ALL quite silly.

    January 8, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  15. Nora L in CA

    How about a closer look at Dick Cheney's ties to Haliburton and no bid contracts and the missing 10 billion dollars that fell off that truck in Iraq?

    Can we have a look at THAT?

    January 8, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  16. BS not Maverick

    Leave him alone he payed, now he should play, HAAAA!

    January 8, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. Laverne

    I think most Americans are tired of this distraction and are ready to move on to the REAL issues that face our country like how to stay employed in 2009!

    January 8, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  18. richard rohde

    Unbelievable how the libs on this post can turn this in to a Republican bashing opportunity.

    January 8, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  19. Republican for Obama (from NC)

    Amen! to "Nora L in CA".

    This is a pure example of why our government no longer works. They would rather spend untold amounts of money fighting this appointment when there is NO LEGAL BASIS for the refusal to seat Burris. Bladgojevich pulled one over on his detractors and they don't like it.

    To the US Senate: Get on with saving our country from economic ruin.

    January 8, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  20. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    The Illinois GOP is still so dysfunctional that they make our governor look normal.

    They will do whatever they can to get another shot at Obama's seat. Obama won it by a landslide back in '06 when he defeated the Illinois GOP's carpetbagger mercenary Alan Keyes.

    The Illinois GOP still suffers national humiliation from the fiacso, for which they bear full resposibility. They are not interested in giving Burris or Blago a fair hearing, or seeking the truth, they just want to grandstand at the taxpayers expense.

    January 8, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  21. 3D

    Run him through the ringer . . . Inquiring mines want to know if Mr. Smilie payed to play. In this great, great country of ours, you are guilty until proven innocent. So let's have a go at-em . . . just for dirty politics sake.

    January 8, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  22. Noah

    Actually, if any of you brilliant Liberals actually bothered to read this story past the headline, you would realize that it is the Illinois state GOP that want a closer look at Burris and Blago's ties, not the GOPs in the U.S. Congress. Liberals are always looking for any reason to rail against Republicans. For a group that thinks they are intellectually superior, you Liberals are not very literate or detail-oriented.

    January 8, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. Tina

    I knew they would screw us out of a special election. It would be entertaining if it weren't so serious. Three weeks ago all the talk was about a special election now, that the democrats realize there is a real risk a republican might win the seat they can't get this guy into the senate fast enough. They should take their time and make sure there isn't pay to play going on. Burris even said when he was announced that he didn't think his firm made enough money to donate $14,000 to Blago. And yet that's exactly what they did.

    January 8, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  24. John in Ohio

    "Shouldn't this be part of the ongoing Fitzgerald investigation??? No reason to make a political statement on something already in place!!!"

    The legislative process is separate and parallel to the criminal process. An impeachment will get him out of office faster, and then Blago won't have the prestige and protection of being a governor during his own federal corruption trial.

    January 8, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  25. anikes

    I think they should totally question Burris's tie to Bladgojevich. I'm a democrat very concerned with losing that seat to Republicans in the next cycle and I think it is absolute folly for democratic officials to seat Burris without clearing his ties to Blad. It seems so odd to me that no one has asked those questions about a seat appointed by a governor charged with selling seats. Everyone has been concerned with the political game being played and no one has vetted Burris. This is just so strange to me, its like everyone just decided that Blad wouldn't still be trying his shenanigans, having read the indictment, I'm not so sure about that.

    This whole thing makes me afraid of Reid being in charge. If he can't control this stupid mess, how is he going to control the senate? It was bad enough that the dem senate were an ineffective minority party, they didn't stand up to anything. The nation cannot afford for them to be an ineffective majority party. I think the democratic leadership in senate need to look seriously at demoting Senator Reid (wishful thinking I know, but a girl can dream, right?

    January 8, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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