February 18th, 2009
06:55 PM ET
6 years ago

Durbin: Senate ethics investigation of Burris underway

Burris admitted this week he had several discussions about fundraising with Blagojevich.
Burris admitted this week he had several discussions about fundraising with Blagojevich.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said Wednesday that a Senate ethics panel is investigating Sen. Roland Burris following his disclosure that he had spoken with Rod Blagojevich's brother about raising money for the disgraced former governor while seeking appointment to the Senate.

Durbin’s comments came shortly before Rep. Phil Hare, a Democrat from western Illinois, became the first member of Congress to publicly call on Burris to step down, describing the ongoing Blagojevich saga as “a recurring nightmare.”

“Given this latest revelation, I believe it is in the best interest of all Illinoisans that Senator Burris resigns,” Hare said in a statement. “Our state and its citizens deserve the whole truth, not bits and pieces only when it is convenient.”

Durbin, a member of the Senate Democratic leadership, told reporters during a congressional trip to Europe that “the Ethics Committee of the Senate is undertaking an investigation.”

“That is the appropriate thing at this point,” Durbin said.

He added that public statements by Burris in recent days “have raised questions which need to be looked at very carefully, as to the nature of his relationship with the former governor and the circumstances surrounding his appointment.”

Burris defended himself in another press conference Wednesday, and said he welcomed any investigations into his actions by the Senate or the state of Illinois.

“I ask you today to stop the rush to judgment,” he said. “You know the real Roland. I’ve done nothing wrong and I have absolutely nothing to hide.”


Filed under: Dick Durbin • Roland Burris
soundoff (219 Responses)
  1. lovable liberal

    I gotta ask: If you had nothing to hide, how come you hid these contacts?

    February 18, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. Snake eyes

    even though raising funds for Blago was not itself a crime or reason for disqualification, he made things worse for himself by lying about it. i dont see how the state legislature has any choice but to ask him to step down if the whole thing plays out like it looks like it will. it is only fair.

    February 18, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. Ernie in LA

    Have you noticed that none of the politicians ever " do anything wrong or have anything to hide"?

    February 18, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. Luke Brown

    Are all these people from Illinois liars and crooks?

    Burris, you played the race card and that didn't work. Now it turns out you lied to the entire country about the single most important question surrounding your appointment..

    Man, you are a disgrace. Resign now !!!

    February 18, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. Morgan

    OMG, resign already! I confirms the Dems fears when they tried to block him from joining the Senate.

    February 18, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  6. Anthony

    Senators and Congressmen must avoid the appearance of impropriety.

    February 18, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. Dutch/Hampton Roads, VA

    These republicans will do anything to tear this man down. Give it a break already. How about investigating your own, (Sarah Palin).

    February 18, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. obama-mama

    There is a saying: You always get what you wish for. Burris is too old not know when something stinks and to back away from it. Just want to be in the spotlight. It's all yours Burris. Enjoy. Dummy

    February 18, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  9. america first

    go ahead and resign burris, save the taxpayers a lot of money, that will be helping your country, they need to concentrate on impeaching palin.

    February 18, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  10. WI Cheesehead

    No need to throw in any legal jargon on this Roland Burris you’ve painted yourself into a corner; plain and simple you have just squandered the trust you asked for from the people, you asked us to separate you from Blago and we give you the benefit of the doubt. With the trust we bestowed upon you, we assumed you are the victim of circumstances but now you’ve created the conditions and you can be a victim of your own creation and not pay for it politically. Look no further, ask your buddy Blago.

    February 18, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  11. Virginia

    Too little, too late–he should never have been appointed.

    February 18, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  12. Virginia Blue Veterans

    This is ridiculous. Mr. Burris say goodbye to your career as a Senator. In two years you will probably be voted out, and unfortunately, replaced by a republican.

    That's what happens when you play stupid.

    February 18, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. His Pension is secure - DC Waste sees to that

    Senator Burris is guaranteed a lifetime pension from the Senate - even if he only served 2 days in office Such is the hypocrisy in Washington and the waste that has driven this great country to the brink.

    The ungodly pensions and health benefits that our politicians receive is sinful and out of line with mainstream America, But with the Democrats controlling the House for 34 of the past 40 years, there will be no reform soon.

    We have seen the DC, that powerful insiders do not pay their taxes. They are not chased and hounded like most normal Americans. There are the "haves" and the "have nots: And anyone not in DC working for the government (even for a day) is a "have not."

    Now ,Obama comes aliong and wants to turn us all into Socialists. Why? He says we all have to pay for the foreclosure crisis – Why? He says we must bail out the greedy union and execs in the auto industry – Why? He says we need to spend billions on welfare. Why?

    Obama is not change. He is just another greedy politician who is now on the inside and has "his"

    February 18, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  14. single mom

    Kinda makes you wonder what else is going to come out the more we learn about this.
    Obama is President and therefore I want him to succeed – if he fails, then the country fails and as an American I do not want that.
    However, I'm curious as to how he could have been around all this and not have any mud clinging to him.

    February 18, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. GW BUSH 2001 1.35 trillion dollars TAX CUT for the RICH

    Burris needs to resign. pronto!!!!

    February 18, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. Proud American

    Fire the Idiot.

    February 18, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. LYNETTE IN CA

    i am so sick of this man already. More drama then the theater!

    February 18, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. California Gold

    Does this mean Burris is going to schedule interviews with Larry King, The View, Late Night programing and other programs like his cohort Blagojevich?

    February 18, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. Angela

    I am ticked, this man should not have accepted the seat if he knew this drama would follow. Chicago really does have their share of crooked politicans.

    February 18, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. Harry Reid Was Right

    Harry Reid called this one exactly right . . . but got huge flack from black activists. Nobody should be accepted into the Senate, who comes via appointment by Blagojevich. Race doesn't matter here. Instead, what matters is Burris has the stench of Blagojevich all over him.

    Harry Reid was right.

    February 18, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  21. plainspeak

    He's a Chicago Democrat... was anyone expecting truth?

    February 18, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  22. jim - chicago, illinois

    Burris said, “I ask you today to stop the rush to judgment,” he said. “You know the real Roland. I’ve done nothing wrong and I have absolutely nothing to hide.”

    Isn't that one of Blagojevich's line?

    February 18, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  23. SHIRLEY "60"

    As I remember, most of the cable networks and the republicans were the ones pushing Burris, saying he was legally entitled to the seat. Of course, they were just doing it in an ttempt to make Chicago and democrats look bad. Most democrats never thought that Blago should have been allowed to appoint anyone to any office including Reid and Durbin, and not just because of his arrest either. There were so many other areas of wrong-doing by that nut cup already existing, that he should have been ousted long ago.

    February 18, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. Emily

    Burris is apparently as dumb as he is unethical. I hope he gets to share a cell with Blagojevich.

    February 18, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  25. Bipartisan

    We in Illinois need to get rid of Burris and then concentrate on getting rid of Durbin. He's pretty sleazy too. The IL political machine has finally been thrust into the national spotlight. We need to take advantage of the situation to clean house.

    February 18, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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