February 16th, 2009
12:43 PM ET
5 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. Roy

    I am from the same party as Burris, but anyone who refers to themselves as 'WE' and 'OUR' (i.e. the 'royal' we) needs to be investigated and if he purjured himself to GET OUT. Saying you later remember more, or saying during a critical testimony that your report 'is incomplete' related to the VERY REASON you are testifying is INEXCUSABLE. I do not think it is hard on the man when he was caught lying. This is now two stikes for this senatorial seat.
    And hey...quit the Chicago comments, ALASKA is just as corrupt!

    February 16, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. Dittohead

    sitting duck.

    February 16, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  3. Jase, NY

    Give this guy a break I agree. Jesus the press looked unprofesional yesterday, disrepecting the sitting US Senator. Where you like him or Blago he has done nothing wrong. He did not pay for the seat, or do anything dishonest. He was sitting there reading the transcript and the reporter is disputing what was said and trying to spin the words that were clear on the paper. You got to be joking totally incompeteant and irresponabile journalism trying to get the guy. Let him breathe and do his job. There are bigger problems then this

    February 16, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. The Truth

    No news here...just another lying, cheating, corrupt democrat.....nothing new about that.

    February 16, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. Cecil

    And for all of you who thought Harry Reid was trying to play political God with Burris, now you see he may have been right.

    February 16, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  6. John Holt

    Burris's perjury is not what concerns me. What concerns me is that our president came from this same political swamp in Chicago.

    February 16, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. Harry, GA

    I wonder if this guy is also technically correct like Al. Imagine all these jokers in Democratic party. Barack himself is a joker and now we have so many of them.

    February 16, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  8. Obama 2.0

    Adios wild man

    February 16, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  9. Gerry in Va. for Obama.

    THE OLD WHITE MENS CLUB IS SURE TRYING TO KEEP MR BURRIS OUT OF WHAT THEY BELIEVE TO BE AN ALL WHITE PLACE. IT'S A SHAME BECAUSE I THINK MR BURRIS WILL BE A FINE SENATOR. YOU HANG IN THERE SENATOR BURRIS.

    February 16, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  10. linda from south dakota

    trouble here is,, these guys NEED to STOP lies a manipluation,,

    February 16, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. Obama Cares

    I JUST DON'T KNOW, WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSE TO BELIEVE?

    February 16, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  12. Peter

    As a citizen of Illinois I have this to say...Lets let him serve his two years, and then get rid of him in 2010. This guy is old and has been in Illinois politics for too long. This is a deadbeat senator

    February 16, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  13. 60619 (Chicago People)

    Every politician in Chicago is not crooked. Unfortunately, most of us who even entertain the thought of running for office, would not do it because of all of the headaches and corruption that goes with the job. I actually wanted to run for public office but was turned off by the number of favors I would have to do as a down payment for party support. Most elected officials trade favors, jobs, and votes. It is never about what is best for the people. Heck, you can't by land in some areas unless you know and contribute to the alderWOMAN! CHicago needs term limits and an enema!!!!!

    February 16, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. Dexter in Houston TX

    Leave Bush 43rd alone. I believe that GW sincerely felt he was doing the right thing by our country. Unfortunately, he was surrounded by demons who could care less about the American people. The Republican motto should be, Country Second, My Pockets First!”

    Republicans have no credibility.

    February 16, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  15. Doug, New Jersey

    Ask yourself why every liberal Democrat is blindly defending Blago, Burris and Franken. Its their morals and values, well really the lack of them. If you want a nation that is worthy of its history and stands for all the greatness this nation has had in its people throughout history then you have no other choice that to defeate the democrooks.

    February 16, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  16. mike

    No news here. Just another Dumbacrat to continue screwing things up. He will fit right in with Pelosi, Reid, Frank and Dodd and the other Dumbacrats who caused this mess.

    February 16, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  17. Proud American

    Reid was right and should have never bowed to pressure. Burris is a Idiot.

    February 16, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. Dutch/Hampton Roads, VA

    Well at least he got to vote on the stimulus bill before this came up. HaHa Haters

    February 16, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  19. Perjurer....

    Take him down and put him in the pokey where ex. Ill. Gov. Ryan is and where Blagojevich is going.

    February 16, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Jackie in Dallas

    Lying corrupt POLITICIAN, please. There are as many in the Republican party as in the Democratic party! Nixon, W. Bush, Ted Stevens, Karl Rove, .... ad nauseum. Power corrupts, guys, it just does. The object of a government is to keep that corruption under control!

    Wow, the remarks on here must have taken the GOP all morning! I love how, with no effort to be truthful, logical, or even the remotest bit fair, the commentors have pointed out that since Blagojevich was rotten, that Burris as his appointee must be rotten, and President Obama, who had little if anything to do with either, and has not been in any way connected to either of them, must also be rotten - just because he is from Chicago. Got news for you...he's not from Chicago, it was just his last legal residence before his election! And Burris deserves the "innocent until proven guilty" defense here. I must say, I thought his comments were iffy myself, but I'll allow the court system and the Senate to determine whether what he said constitutes perjury.

    February 16, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  21. Griff

    That is why they call them: "Dead Lines". I must get there! I have to get there! Welcome to the "Fast Lane"...

    February 16, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  22. fearful for my country

    I mean come on....did anyone ever believe him in the first place? There was just so much pressure to put a black man in that slot that the corruption was overlooked. We the people knew what was going on. We the people knew he was lying. Why in the heck can't our government see thru the racism?

    February 16, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  23. Jan Streamwood IL

    What happened to "TELLING THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH?” Did Roland Burris do that? I don’t' think so. He should have disclosed all truths and the whole truth. I do not believe for a minute that he "just forgot" after he read the transcript. I believe the senate would have still let him in based on his past works, but now... He will be perceived at sneaky or deceitful! Plus, will people STOP viewing this as a black or white issue! This is an "Integrity or Not" issue.

    February 16, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  24. Al

    People, wake up. There was mention about Harry Reid's train project out west. That means jobs. That is creating jobs so people can be given work who currently don't have jobs to build it. That is what all these projects are about, putting people to work to build jobs.
    Folks, let's not point the fingers at this one or that one. There are always going to be rotten apples in any basket, no matter how you look at it. We don't know the full story about Burris yet. Let's give this a chance to un-ravel a little before everyone condemns him. Let's face it, we had an administration that sat in Washington for 8 years and look at what they got away with. Give Obama a break. The man has hardly been in the White House for 3 weeks and I have never seen people jump all over him so much so fast. He has made more progress in 3 weeks than bush made for us in 8 years. The republicans are crying that he is going against bi-partisanship. They are the ones who are going against bi-partisanship by their behavior. It is so obivious by their behavior. They look and sound like sore losers over the elections in November and they had 8 years to fight for what was right and they did nothing and now they are suddenly stating what is right? Give us a break.

    February 16, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  25. R in Maine

    The statements were consistent. They were all lies.

    February 16, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
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