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. Ken in NC

    Like they said in the beginning, the Senate should not have accepted anyone appointed by Blago The Crook. The comics are going to have a field day with this.

    February 16, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  2. Dan, TX

    It is the news media that has let us down. Not Burris. The news media are lazy talking heads that repeat whatever the neocons or liberals talking points happen to be. No analysis, no common sense. They throw the crap out and leave us to pick between neocon crap or liberal crap. How about a third way. Reason, logic, common sense. That isn't conservative or liberal. Sorry liberals and conservatives, you are both illogical idiots on some things.

    February 16, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  3. FreeNLovIt

    Excuse me, but when you put Obie and Burris next to W and Chen ey, you can see their halos.

    February 16, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  4. yumi

    The media need to do their job like they are supposed to, not making news!

    February 16, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  5. Rob

    Textbook Dem. Should we really be surprised?

    And hey, while we're at it, thanks to Harry Reid for making sure the pork stayed out of the 'stimulus' bill. That train from LA to Vegas is really gonna help the unemployed in the midwest!

    Hats off to ya...ya jerk!

    February 16, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  6. Albo58

    Never mind the truth, Burris has a distinctive (D) behind his name so he can pick/choose which laws that really apply to him! Also, don't make him whip out his race card because he will! No justice, no peace...

    February 16, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  7. Breezy

    Burris should resign. This could have been prevented if he had just let the process run it's course. Blago...whatever his name is, had NO BUSINESS naming Obama's replacement while in the process of being booted out of office. What was the rush? The American people have had enough liars, crooks, and thieves in power over the last eight years to last a life time. Why give the "talking points" air heads something to whine about? Why put the country through this? "STAND DOWN" Burrus, you, as a Democrat, should be part of the solution, not the problem. We must allow the "nuts" to keep that line busy.

    February 16, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  8. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    Tag, I don't know that anyone (besides delusional folks) would say that President Obama (or Rahm Emanuel for that matter) is a crook.
    I don't know that either of these fellows have ever been charged with as much as a misdemeanor. So, to lump everyone from Chicago (although their Governor mansion needs to be checked with all the Governors they've had committing some egregious wrongdoing in while holding their position as Gov) is just wrong. And is a non-so-secretive attempt to blast the President.

    Lane from IN, same for you.

    Now, I do think he made an error, probably to get into the seat no doubt. OR, if not to get into the seat, an error of forgetfullness that will likely not be so easily forgotten in Nov 2010 by the people of Illinois.

    February 16, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. Walter

    Wow! For eight years Democrats whined about about Republican corruption. Now that they're in power, it looks like they're trying to make up for lost time. Good job, Dems, looks like you're back in the business of screwing Americans over.

    February 16, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. Roland Burris

    @tag... February 16th, 2009 12:48 pm ET
    hey…he's from chicago….all politicans from chicago are crooks….look at the governor, look at the white house, need i go on?
    Hey the the real Crook is from Texas !!!!

    February 16, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  11. Republicans are ankle biters

    Good for mr.Burris. Im laughing at republicans.I love to watch their agony on here everyday.

    February 16, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  12. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    He was specifically asked about contact with the brother and denied it.

    He perjured himself and should be removed. I gave him the benefit of a doubt when the other crook appointed him.

    Chicago needs to hold an election for Obama's seat and get rid of these lying, manipulators once and for all.

    February 16, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  13. Chicago Girl

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

    What an idiotic comment! What crime has President Obama commited? If you any evidence of one, please enlighten the rest of us. Otherwise, be quiet!

    February 16, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  14. badandy

    just another crooked politician

    February 16, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. tony_n_atl

    I originally supported him and was upset that they gave him such a hard time. HE SHOULD RESIGN! HE IS A LIAR AND NEEDS TO RESIGN!!!!!!!!!!

    February 16, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. obama-mama

    He was too desperate for the position. Should have had no parts of someone being charged with a crime. He's too old not to know better.

    February 16, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  17. obama-mama

    @Lane: this story is about Burris not Obama

    February 16, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  18. rena

    Burris is a liar and just as crooked as Blago. They need to remove him. He knew darn well he contributed to Blago for election. I wish there was a way we can completely get rid of both the democrat and republic party. Nancy need to go! She is like a spoiled child in a candy store. Give me all what I wasn't allowed to have early in life. They all just make me sick!!!!

    February 16, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  19. Perusing-through

    Dear Mr. Burris,

    You wanted it , , , , you got it!

    February 16, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. Nick

    To CNN. You cut out comments to many articles to soon.
    I have two comments to make and no place to make them, so I will put them here.
    1. It appears that those who think the Historians are ranking G.W. Bush, to soon seem to be the same people [screen name] that have no trouble judging Pres. Obama as a failure already... I wonder what their qualifactions are.
    2 . It also seems that CNN is giving the Republicans much more air time [press] than the Democrates. Wolf Blitzer and John King maybe offered a job at Fox News soon.

    February 16, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. Linda in MS

    I don't think Roland Burris should be sitting in the Senate because anyone appointed by Blagojevich would have been suspect. Mr. Burris did not pay for his seat, and therefore committed no crime, and so far as I can see, accepted nor took any money, so I question tag...
    who calls him a crook. As far as the White House, there is no one in it who is a crook, just the first decent human being to live there in an awful long time.

    February 16, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. yuri

    But, Roland, fewer people are ready to believe that. As a lawyer, you are not coming clean in a credible manner. The more you talk, the less reliable you are! If you keep spilling the beans at this junture, it is more likely going to create more queries than answers. Your answers will never be taken at face value.

    February 16, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. Literally honest

    No one had thought to ask him if Bagojevich's brother had solicited him. Silly questioners.

    February 16, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. jaye

    Why dosen't he just shut up and sit down – the more he talks the more things stay stirred up.

    February 16, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. Typical White Person

    Chris February 16th, 2009 1:07 pm ET

    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.

    ______________

    A product of the Chicago public school system no doubt...

    February 16, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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