February 18th, 2009
06:55 PM ET
9 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. wagon

    Gee..another democrat that perjurs themselves. I'm totally and utterly shocked.

    February 18, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. yuri

    Burris is busy digging his own grave, in a self-deprecating way, as we see it. He is wide open for a sucker punch, especially grom the GOP. Enjoy the punch, Burris!

    February 18, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  3. Teresa

    Golly. So tired of hearing about shady characters and lying!!! Can Roland please just step down? Can't we have just one person take the senate seat who hasn't been tainted?

    February 18, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  4. Once you vote Black

    I wish I could say something for the guy. But when you are wrong you are wrong. The only think I can say is that if he tried to pay to play and was unable to do it then that is worst then actually doing it because it means you tried to do wrong and failed at that!

    February 18, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. chuck

    The Ethics Committe of the Senate will hear this. I'd rather have the opinion of 12 kids jumping rope on the street corner. I'd be more apt to believe in their integrity and sense of judgement. Internal investigations conveniently forget to look under all the rocks or inspect all of the bones in the closet. If the evidence slapped them in the face they might then try to justify the bad behavior. It's like police departments or the military investigating themselves. Wink Wink!!!!!!!

    February 18, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  6. Tee

    We have serious problems in DC ... GOD help us! And yes it's on both sides, it's not a one way street

    February 18, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. GOPer

    If you lay down with dogs...

    February 18, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. Dee

    Thank goodness we don't have any of these Illinois politicians in significant positions of national leadership.

    Oh, wait...

    February 18, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. Baze

    He had to expect this. You don't get appointed by someone that's radioactive and then wish for a smooth ride.

    February 18, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  10. fella from Chicago

    God, he even sounds like Blagojevich when lying. Governor Ryan move over further in your prison cell, because Blagojevich and now Burris are about to join you.

    February 18, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. Dutch/Hampton Roads, VA

    @ Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    That is very distasteful statement. And what foreign country do you come from? CNN should be ashamed of themselves for posting stereotypical comments like yours.

    February 18, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. Gene

    Wow...Ula Nejad...You would think that a person with that name would not make a statement like that. Liars come in ALL colors and political affiliations. If Burris lied then he should resign. Republicans were all over the Democrats when they did not want to seat Burris. Now that their fears seem to have merit, Republicans are saying whining about corrupt Democrats.

    February 18, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. gregg


    February 18, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. Laverne

    I think it is clear Burris won't be getting re-elected so let's get on with what really matters. Burris has been a distraction from the beginning, right or wrong, with the way republicans are behaving, we can sure use his votes in the senate!

    February 18, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. Kathy in Michigan

    He should resign. He never should have been seated. Reid and Durbin wanted to wait for his testimony and it turns out he lied by ommission.

    He also seems scatter-brained and confused. He has not held public office in 13 years. What has he been doing? The US Senate seemed quite a bit of a stretch to me.


    February 18, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    It is amazing how the "political sharks" gather once the first drop of blood hits the water.

    February 18, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  17. thomas

    Burris is obviously not qualified to be a senator. When he admitted that he tried to raise money for Blagojevich's campain but was unsuccessful, it was proof that he was unqualified. No one could ever become senator without having the ability to raise money

    February 18, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  18. SPQR753

    I hope Mr. Burris will not engrave the start and end dates as US Senator on his Mausoleum: it would be exceedingly BAD TASTE!!

    February 18, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. karen-Phoenix

    The man is 72 years old!!! He did NOTHING wrong and didn't give Blago any money or fund raising!!! Just leave it alone! He's not running in 2010!!! You people would kill your own mother!!

    February 18, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  20. geraldine

    Dems will probably want this guy out, but not for noble reasons. He's not likely to hold the seat in 2010, which is far more important to Harry Reid than any ethical lapse.

    February 18, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. gt

    get rid of this fool ... let the people of lincoln elect a real senator,,,,,

    February 18, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. Mike

    Attorney General calls America 'a nation of cowards' on race
    CNN you started this why close it...?? Grow some balls.. people...

    Alfred E. Neumann February 18th, 2009 2:37 pm ET

    "Eric Holder proving once again that fools come in all colors"

    Well I would say that trepidation freezes the brain just long enough for asininity to settle in. In your case Mr. Neumann its blatantly obvious that you had a head start.

    February 18, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. Carl D.

    Think about it people, who can he be replaced with. When i hear the term politician i think of corruption, lying, stealing, it's sad to say or feel this way, but come on, the politician of today isn't hear to serve the people, there hear to serve themselves. How can you tell when a politician is lying, thats easy, when they open there mouths.
    Carl in Illinois

    February 18, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  24. Independent Paul

    More proof how awful Harry Reid is as leader of the Senate. He cowered when Blago appointed a black man, and now he looks stupid for it.

    Bravo Reid!

    February 18, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  25. obama-mama

    Like Fred Sanford used to say, Big Dummy

    February 18, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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