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. Dorothy

    They were only given a portion of the original amount requested. To obtain the rest of the money, they had to submit a viable plan for solvency in February.

    February 18, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. Ronnie Patrick

    This poor foolish want a be old man needs to resign and count his losses and just walk away with some pride. I knew before this came out the he was guilty of something. This same man wanted this seat so badly that he would have done anything to get it and he did. He is as guilty as sin and we all to include he and his wife knows that.This man has ran for a senate seat twice and lost both times. Get real fool and move on and let go of trying to be something that at this date and time is not in your reach. You should have tried somethign difference in the right way to work and help our country. Being dishonest will come back to bite you and you need to know that. Maybe I should say you should have known that. I for one think he should resign and try and clean this up the right way best he can. He is not effective and who is going to listen to him anyway. I think he has issues in the smart tank. He is another Sarah Palin if you know what I mean. Not very smart in the books or did not do well in school or needs to go back to some college or university.

    February 18, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. Simpliticus

    Tainted is tainted and now we hear that he didn't disclose all the details of his association with Blagojevich. Senate Democrats are going to jump all over this because these senators have been tarnished by their original dislike for allowing Burris in at all and now this can be construed as payback. This is why Durbin has to come forward and do this because the senate leader doesn't want to appear biassed which he probably is because he didn't want this in the first place. Burris might as well resign because he appears to have been TAINTED by Blagojevich after all, thus vindicating the Democrats! So long, Roland!

    February 18, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. Vicki5

    LEAVE BURRIS ALONE!!!

    February 18, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. Laura, Boston

    Hey Dems:

    I can't for one minute feel for any of you. You had the opportunity to hold a special election but you didn't want to take a chance that a Republican (God forbid) might have won.

    So now you have Roland Burris...a gift to the dems from Blago...the gift that keeps on giving.

    Enjoy!

    February 18, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Will-South Dakota

    Tarnished credibility, best option form Senator Burris is to resign and give Illinois a do-over.

    February 18, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. sick n tired of CNN moderators

    Liers and Biggots and Thieves (oh my.) Liers and Biggots and Thieves (oh my). Liers and Biggots and Thieves (oh my)!

    February 18, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Burris should have never accepted this position from the beginning and now his own self serving aspirations and lies have come to haunt him. BAD CHOICE IN THE BEGINNING, GET RID OF HIM.

    February 18, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. fearful for my country

    Get this man OUT of office. He should have never been there to begin with. Funny how the people knew that but not the politicians.

    February 18, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. JOHN WHITE

    im a black man and i feel that we need more black senators, but burris is a crook and loud and clear i want a more diverse senate, but not like this. hes a crook and liar my father and i saw right through him on day one. get him out!

    February 18, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  11. David S.

    Why am I not surprised... Chicago politicians accused of corruption? He was just rushed in there to vote for the porkulus package, now it is coming back to haunt the Democrats. Is there an honest Democrat anywhere?

    February 18, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. will

    HE LIED... AND HE NEEDS TO GO!!!!!

    February 18, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  13. Willy Brown

    Here come the crooked democrats for the next 4 years. Watch how the media plays it down.

    February 18, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  14. Willy Brown

    Here come the crooked democrats for the next 4 years. Watch how the media plays it down.

    February 18, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. Dan, IL

    Nothing but the finest politicians come from Illinois – land of the free, home of Obama.

    February 18, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. Mike in Houston

    Good. Once they have the ethics investigation of Burris completed, they can start on Reid, Dodd, Schumer, Waxman, and Durbin.

    February 18, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  17. Mike in Houston

    Gary,

    Pejury is not longer a crime for elected officials. Bill Clinton proved that.

    February 18, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. STEVE/HOUSTON,TX

    He should have never accepted the post. There is always going to be a cloud over his head whether he committed a crime or not. I think Burris is an idiot.

    February 18, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. Chicago Girl

    My fingers are crossed that Burris will step down. He should have never been appointed in the first place. He's a has been that hasn't held political office since the mid 90s. His story changes by the hour. Enough already.

    February 18, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. arithmetic is liberal

    Laura, Boston:

    Maybe you should take a refresher course on Illinois State law before you shoot your mouth off again in a partisan fashion and make yourself look like an idiot...

    February 18, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. Carmine Abbattiello

    I feel sorry for Mr. Burris. I think he's basically a good person who got in over his head. He thought he could swim with the sharks, but he was wrong and got played by Rod and Rob Blago. Like Dirty Harry said, a man's got to know his limitations. I hope they go easy on Burris, but the two Blagos (and John Harris) should be in prison, and the sooner the better.

    February 18, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. Tony

    Interesting how this is now on track since the Spendulous Vote. Without him, it would not have passed. I see Chicago politics has made it to Washington......

    February 18, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  23. Charles Atlanta

    I told you, he is the highest bidder.

    February 18, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  24. he is NOT the chosen one after all

    Dumbocrats have no ethics, ask Pelosi.

    February 18, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  25. geen

    burris is, and for those of us who unfortunately live in Illinois, always has been a weasel,,he has been striving for some kind of significant office in this state for half a century..and voter's have always, for the most part, been smart enough to see through him. And also, for those who want to support him just because he is black, that perception doesn't hold water...especially in Illinois: there have been 4 black senators in this century (if we include the weasel), who served in the senate and, including the weasel, three of them–Carole Mosely Braun, Barack Obama, and, of course the weasel were FROM ILLINOIS..(the other was Edward Brooke of Massachusetts–a Black Republican, no less (yeah...imagine THAT!), so let's forget about that Race thing in Illinois–of everything morally and ethically the state of illinois lacks (and trust me...as the media has become very well aware in the last few months, we in this state never fail to elect to positions of power those who are most lacking in creative t hinking ability, more often than not (there are exceptions, albeit very few) all to willing to forgo any social coscience to the almighty dollar....only to deny they have done so after getting caught at the trough.

    February 18, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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