February 16th, 2009
12:43 PM ET
6 years ago

Burris says his statements were consistent

Burris says his statements have been consistent.
Burris says his statements have been consistent.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) – Illinois Sen. Roland Burris reiterated Monday that his sworn testimony regarding his contacts with then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich was not inconsistent with what he later said in an affidavit about them.

The Democratic senator's comments come a day after Illinois Republican leaders called for a perjury investigation into whether Burris deceived the public last month when he failed to tell state lawmakers that former Gov. Blagojevich's brother solicited him for campaign cash at the same time that the governor himself was considering whether to appoint him to fill the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.

Earlier: Republicans want perjury probe

"We said in our testimony before the impeachment committee, my lawyer stated, that we will have to file additional information in our report because there were some questions asked where we had to get sufficient information for the committee," Burris told reporters outside Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church on Chicago's South Side prior to leaving for a five-day statewide "listening tour" of his new constituents.

"We also stated that we might be incomplete in our report," he said.

He said he decided, upon receiving the court transcript, to file a separate affidavit showing whom he talked to and what was said. But, he added, "There was no change in any of our testimony. We followed up as we promised the impeachment committee. We've done everything here that we said we were going to do."

Any suggestion to the contrary, he said, "is absolutely, positively not true. It was done because we promised the committee that we would supplement information in case we missed anything."

Burris has said that Rob Blagojevich asked him to contribute or help raise money for his brother, the governor, before Burris was named a U.S. senator on December 30, but that he did not do so.

"I made clear to him I would not contribute because it would be inappropriate because I had expressed my interest in the Senate seat," he told reporters on Sunday. "I did not donate one single dollar."

Burris has come under fire for not mentioning the conversations during his January 8 testimony before the Illinois House impeachment panel that was investigating the governor. He said Sunday that he had addressed them in an affidavit filed this month.

The state House voted overwhelmingly to impeach the governor after he was arrested on federal corruption charges in December.

Meanwhile, in Washington, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is aware of the affidavit and is also looking into the issue, according to his spokesman, Jim Manley.

"Clearly it would have been better if Senator Burris had provided this information when he first testified," Manley said Sunday. "Senator Reid is reviewing the affidavit and will await any action by Illinois legislative leaders after they review the matter."

Burris' attorney, Tim Wright, joined him at Sunday's news conference. He said the affidavit was submitted after they reviewed the transcripts from Burris' testimony and realized "there was also some additional information we could have offered."

In the affidavit, Burris said the governor's brother called him three times - once in October 2008 and twice shortly after the November elections - to "seek my assistance in fund-raising for Governor Blagojevich."

But Burris said in one of the conversations, he believes the last one, "I mentioned the Senate seat in the context of saying that I could not contribute to Governor Blagojevich because it could be viewed as an attempt to curry favor with him regarding his decision to appoint a successor to President Obama."

The affidavit does not directly state that Rob Blagojevich solicited funds or give a dollar amount. However, Burris spokesman Jason Erkes told CNN Saturday that the governor's brother asked Burris to contribute or help raise up to $10,000 for Blagojevich.

Burris said he did not raise or donate any funds for the governor after a June fundraiser.

Asked by the impeachment panel with whom he had talked among Blagojevich's associates about his desire for the Senate seat, Burris replied he had spoken with Blagojevich's former chief of staff, Lon Monk. On Sunday, he said he had not mentioned Rob Blagojevich because the questioning then "went in a different direction."

Burris' appointment by Blagojevich was hotly disputed, as prosecutors alleged Blagojevich attempted to sell the Senate seat to the highest bidder. He was ousted from office last month by Illinois lawmakers.

Attempts by CNN to contact Rob Blagojevich regarding the allegations, first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, were unsuccessful.

Rob Blagojevich's attorney, Michael Ettinger, told the Sun-Times that Blagojevich had spoken with Burris about a fund-raiser, but "didn't know (Burris) was in the running for the U.S. Senate seat."


Filed under: Roland Burris
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Hampton Roads, VA

    Give the guy a break. The media is trying to twist and distort everything the man says. He's got the seat. Give it a break already.

    February 16, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  2. tag...

    hey...he's from chicago....all politicans from chicago are crooks....look at the governor, look at the white house, need i go on?

    February 16, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  3. Angus McDugan

    Ahhhh.... The CHICAGO way!

    February 16, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  4. southerncousin

    This man learned to parse his words from that great american Bill Clinton. He looks like he even has the trembling lip part down.

    February 16, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. Gordon Shumway

    Ah come on......................What's one more lying crook in a den of them gonna do? It's all about foolin the folks into thinking they're better off now than they were yesterday. Just one big happy facade!

    February 16, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. Had It

    Illinois should have held a special election. This little weasel and Rod Blgojevich will be shoved down our throats for at least 2 more years. I dislike both of them very much.

    February 16, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. Hammer

    Just like good old "I did not have sex with that woman" Bill.

    February 16, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. J Williamson

    Prepare yourselves for Burris to claim that this is an effort to bring down the only Black man in the US senate. He's already played that card and undoubtedly will do so again.

    February 16, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. once upon a horse

    Liar. liar PANTS ON FIRE!!

    February 16, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. Lane from IN

    He is a liar just like Blago and Obama. Get over it.

    February 16, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  11. Chris

    I don't know this really don't look good and he seem to really just want the job so bad that the Senators just let him.

    February 16, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. CT from ChiTown

    Hey Dutch! There is no reason to "give this guy a break". By failing to disclose this information before his Senate Confirmation, it just shows that he KNEW it would prevent him from being confirmed. Roland Burris has shown, yet again, that he doesn't care one iota about anyone but himself. He will lie, claim racism, and avoid telling the truth so he can get himself a bigger pension.

    Will someone please conduct a poll in Chicago asking whether we want this man removed from our Senate seat immediately? I'll bet the response will be over 80%.

    February 16, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. pat C.

    TO BAD THE REPUBS ARE NOT PUTTING THIS MUCH ENERGY IN WORKING WITH OUR PRESIDENT TO JUMP-START OUR ECONOMY.

    February 16, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  14. Brain

    Let's see, it is about The Governor not this senator.....

    The media can fool us all they want!

    February 16, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  15. BW

    Quote: "We also stated that we might be incomplete in our report," he said.

    Oh, o.k., now that you made that disclaimer, let's all not worry about it. What a joke. And why should we "give the guy a break", Dutch? Because he is a Democrat and is avoiding telling the country something that was uncovered? As critical and as publicized as this entire situation was, are you really stupid enough to believe this is a general oversight? Can you imagine the hell that would have evolved if this guy had an "R" next to his political affiliation?

    February 16, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. CHANGE we need

    Mr Burris, DO THE RIGHT THING for the People of Illinois and the United States of America...RESIGN!!! You do not need to deface us any more than you have with a purgery charge and expulsion!!

    There is no other justifiable reason he was seated, other than "Chicago Politics" at large. Mr Burris is a perenial political candidate who would have never been elected to the Senate.

    If he doesn't step down, though, he will fit right in with the 'winning party' of corruption. Way to go, Blago.

    February 16, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  17. Norman

    I think if Burris and the rest of his gang of theives would tell the truth once in a while, they wouldn't get into so much trouble. They change their stories so much they don't remember what the truth really is. I say RESIGN!

    February 16, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  18. Republican ankle biters?

    Burris will do just fine.Looks like all the southern redneck republicans are off work today.They are like those little ankle biting dogs,forever yapping till you use one for a football.

    February 16, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Too bad Harry Reid isn't a stronger leader. First he said NEVER would he let Burris into the senate and then Burris showed up in DC and of course Reid he caved in as usual, now it looks like he should have stuck to his position. We need a strong democratic leader in the Senate.

    February 16, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. Looking for Truth

    Just another Democrat.

    February 16, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  21. Steve (the real one)

    Now I know why they call Chicago the Windy City....the politicians are full of hot air and then they start talking!!!

    February 16, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  22. frankie shockley

    Mr. Burris is just another puppet that is desperiate to be able to say in his old age that he was us senator. He is as blemished as the the person that appointed him, oh and by the way Iam Black so it doesn't matter what color he is considering how he got there I don't think he can be trusted.

    February 16, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  23. S Callahan

    What is the most sensible thing to do ?
    Hold a speical election and let the people chose. If the people really want him, he'll be elected. He's seated now, yet could be unseated with a speical election. The ball is in the state of Ill. legislation.

    February 16, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  24. arithmetic is liberal

    Take Blago's stain off that seat. Illinois needs a special election NOW!

    February 16, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  25. Jen, Philadelphia

    Hey, Dutch/Hampton Roads VA: He was asked point-blank who he spoke to and he said just one guy. Now it turns out to be that guy, 3 other aides and the governor's brother. The media isn't twisting his words, they don't need to, he lied.

    February 16, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
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