February 16th, 2009
12:43 PM ET
9 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. SE

    Another reason Burris will not get reelected in Illinois ever again. He was a has been with a huge ego before and now he is also a liar.

    Sad man. I hope he just goes away.

    February 16, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. Merle

    UGH! This guy needs to just go away...theres somethin fishy about him and that Office. MR. BURRIS, RESIGN AND GO FLY SOME KITES!

    February 16, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  3. hello

    let us talk about stimulus bill.
    Republican says that nobody read the 1500 pages but at least 3 republican senator who voted for the bill must have read it and that is enough for public.

    February 16, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  4. pete

    Since reporters don't have a clue how to do their jobs following are the key questions that need to be asked:

    -During yesterday's news circus, I mean news conference, someone had asked him if he or anyone in his camp had been contacted by anyone at the FBI that let him know his conversations were on tape. He first said no, then yes, then no. It's a simple question, we didn't get a straight answer

    -Someone needs to ask Fitzgerald if anyone has contacted Burris to let him know he was on tape, and if so, when and why

    -Someone needs to get a straight answer on the timeline of events. He originally said that he filed the affidavit to clarify some of his answers after his lawyer reviewed a draft of the transcript. Then he said he provided the affidavit the day after he was asked to clarify his answers to specific questions.

    -Someone needs to hold him accountable for not releasing this information publicly. He said he did release it publicly by filing the clarifying affidavit with whomever he sent it to, who then sat on it for over 10 days. If that is his idea of public notification, ask him if the rest of the party follows the same sort of tranparency rules.

    -Someone needs to ask why this came out after the stimulus vote.

    Journalists, do your job.

    February 16, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. Joe

    This is just more politicking by the Republicans. They have to learn to get over the fact that they lost. This kind of smear politics is what made them lose seats in the last 2 elections. More of the same old fear and smear is going to be the end of them.

    February 16, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. arithmetic is liberal

    *reads all the conservative bilge from all the blogs today*

    Oh, YUCK!!! Are you kidding? Do yu Republicans literally have that little to do today on President's Day that you can sit on here all day and belch out your alternative to reality?

    So far today:
    * Blaming Bill Clinton for everything from the deficit to your crappy parenting
    * Calling historians and anyone who has a degree from somewhere beside DeVry "socialist liberals"
    * Saying derogatory things about Mrs. Clinton
    * "He kept us safe" Bush defense although he did nothing of the kind.

    Barring the last one, it's like everyone is playing the Conservative Radio Greatest Hits of the 1990s! Get a new idea, rushpubs. If you still have the brains with which to do it.

    February 16, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. pete

    One other thing, the very essence of the hearings in the senate was to determine if there was any taint on Burris based on his contacts with Blago. Someone needs to ask him if he is friends with Blago's brother. Then when he says no, ask him why, when asked directly about any contact with Blago's brother, his answer was yes, I talked with many of my friends about the position. He evaded the answer.

    February 16, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. fearful for my country

    k another lying chicago politician out of office. I swear, I don't even know why the state even bothers electing officials. They are all bought and paid for anyway.

    February 16, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Another liar from the Chicago machine! What's the big surprise? They get what they deserve! Boy, our, no I'm going to say your, president sure knows know to pick 'em, huh? I'll wait for the next pres., maybe he won't be black and just maybe, he won't even be a liar. I'm not going to hold my breath on the latter one.

    February 16, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. nick

    Leave Burris alone, the media!

    February 16, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. Griff

    It does not matter! You! Obama, amnd many more of the Black America, will get the blamed next year, for this Recession.
    Nobody will invest in America. When Obama said, he was going to Tax the Rich: "Blink."..

    February 16, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. frank , pennsylvania

    Senator Burris should be left alone by republicans to focus on the big job ahead. This bickering is absolutely unnecesary – he is not guilty of any perjury and has not acted inappropriately. Please leave him alone! Avoid all these distractions and focus on the economy!

    February 16, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. Charles from Atlanta

    Do you believe Blagovejich gave Burris the Senator seat without some dirty agreement? It starts to reveal some dirty things...

    BTW, advice to people don't like Obama – you lost the election, get over it! He is our president.

    February 16, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. ron

    you have to love republicans. They have no problem spending 700 billion in Iraq and pretending they are doing the world a favor, but they are all over any other ideas of the direction the country should go. Tell us if your ideas got us into the hole we are in now, how are your same old tied ideas going to get us out of it. Please list details of how tax cuts to the rich will create new jobs. Yes the same rich people that are laying off workers today and giving themselves huge bonuses as the companies they are managing burn.

    February 16, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. Buddhawest

    For Mr. Burris to omit this latest news from his testimony, and then to describe it as simply "incomplete" beggers the imagination. This man is simply not credible.

    With the furor around his appointment, not to be aware of the sensitivity of this latest allegation and, worse yet, to ignore it in any prepared comments, is another example of this man's lack of integrity.

    I'd wager he already had contracted with stone masons to etch further pompous things ("was a US Senator") about himself on his mausoleum (I'm not kidding .. his ego necessitates a mausoleum that describes his frontier trail-blazer history in his own words ... LOL ... he won't leave it to others to pen his epitaph). So now he must be telling the truth as it is "etched in stone". Hilarious .. what a buffoon!

    February 16, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. ron

    By the way Burris is like any republican elected official. He will lie, cheat, steal his way to the top. If he was white he would be running for a republican position and have the republican slime machine behind him.

    February 16, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  17. Mike

    Should be interesting to hear liberal comments about this.....if this were a republican! Let's face it, we have such a corrupt gov't in IL and the best way is if the PEOPLE vote them out. that is not likely to happen as it seems like people are very similar to lemmings.

    February 16, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. Larry

    The man is a joke

    A lying joke

    Show him the door

    February 16, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. End Of An Error

    Saying your consistent in not saying you have revealed everything is just political doublespeak.

    Roland Burris paid to play and Rod Blagojovich found someone who would buy a Senate seat.

    Both of them need to be held accountable.

    This country cannot tolerate any more business as usual politics. People trying to game the system and abuse it are guilty of treason. This country made a mistake in not holding politicians to a higher standard and now we have these kinds of people selling favors, buying favors, and selling influence. It must stop.

    February 16, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. Chicago Politicians = Liars

    Its obvious that you can not believe any politician that comes out of Chicago. First Obama then Blagojevich and now Buress.
    Their a bunch of smoke and mirror politicians who will say anything for their own political gain. I hope Buress gets what he deserves (Jail Time). two(Blago, Buress) down one(Obama) to go.

    February 16, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. Dems be dopes

    New Flash!
    From the Obubba Camp!
    "We knew nothing of this mess"

    But he did get in just in time to vote for the Grand Daddy of all Pork Bills.


    Don't think so....

    February 16, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  22. FreeNLovIt

    Folks, the Lazarus Phenomenon is about two men that died and came back to life again.
    And these are their accounts of what they saw in the afterlife. One is a pastor that
    died angry and one is a church dropout that never cared about God.

    February 16, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. Sick of the sickos

    At this point – should I care?

    We are already totally screwed by the Republicans who NEVER put country first, but instead spent, spent, spent on war and gave tax breaks to the top 5% of the wealthy.

    When will Republicans understand that we cannot move our nation forward until we take care of ALL Americans.

    We make over $150,000 a year and will be HAPPY to pay more taxes if it will help.

    The rest of you are just selfish "ME" Americans and those of you "ME" Americans who claim to be Christian – SHAME ON YOU!

    February 16, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  24. FreeNLovIt

    Leave the man alone!! He's 100 years old. By the way, if we are so serious, why didnt we do anything in the past 8 years to ask for accountability from our former Prez? In a way, I was hoping that when they all impeach Blago, that they too, impeach themselves. It's time for TERM-LIMIT in IL. I cant stand 50 cents gas tax raises, People's Gas raises, electric bills raises.. Everything is going up the ROOF. We have all these CROOK politicians. I have never seen so many HIGH utility bills in my whole entire life. ALL CROOKS AND no Saints...

    February 16, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  25. NoLeftTurn

    Nothing new here...Dems can do no wrong.

    February 16, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
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