February 18th, 2009
06:55 PM ET
5 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. Ed

    I thought Plaxico Burris is the one who shot himself in the leg.

    February 18, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. Ed

    I thought Plaxico Burris is the one who shot himself in the leg not the foot.

    February 18, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. Richard

    Why should he resign, Bill Clinton didn't.

    February 18, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. jhon wilson

    Burris will not resign for political reason. You guys are rush to juge before even listen what happen. We have the only African American senator Burris. He will tell the whole truth if he is asked. He gave answers for what he was asked. the good thing is he didn't lied at that time.leave him alone!

    February 18, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. Phil

    And this revelation is surprising how???

    February 18, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  6. Tina

    In response to Laura in Boston - holding a special election in this case would have cost the taxpayers millions of dollars, money which we do not have. Also, from your comment, you imply that the residents of Illinois had a choice whether to hold a special election or not – from what I understand, that is the governor's decision (if someone knows different, please let me know).

    I live in Chicago and not a single person I know, republican or democrat, wanted Burris as their Senator and we all were in complete shock when the offer was made, as well as when it was accepted. It is clear (even more clear now) that Burris is looking out for himself and looking for more "impressive accomplishments" to engrave into his mausoleum.

    (Reading these comments, I am very disturbed by the state of the country when the only thing that ever seems to get accomplished is increasing the hatred between the two parties – we need to get rid of this distructive two party system. Anyone out there have any ideas?)

    February 18, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  7. SGTBIGO

    Dutch,

    Maybe you didn't read the story but the leading people in it were all DEMOCRATS!!!! This has nothing to do with party afiliations anymore. This is about a crook getting caught. Plain and simple.

    February 18, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  8. Teresa

    COME ON GUYS! Give up the Democratic/ Republican slam! I voted Dem., but I think this guy should step down. There are good as well as bad people of every political affiliation. Some people just get caught, and some are sneekier and never do. I mean after all, whatsup with the Palin/tax deal?

    February 18, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. Casey | Sebastopol, CA

    oh please, folks - liars and idiots come in all flavors, democrat, republican, independent, etc. And money and power will corrupt any unethical person.

    The only way to make this not happen is to make the compensation for commensurate with the work.. and maybe require an IQ, history & civics test, and an ethics test...

    Without the money attached to the job, greed plays less of a role; without knowing history, a person is more likely doomed to repeat it; without ethics, power is a corrupting influence.

    February 18, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  10. David Newport, OR

    This is Illinois problem. They let him in...let them deal with him. Not like we don't have more important things to focus on. Will one crooked politician who has his accolades already engraved on his tombstone really make a diffence in the Senate? Don't sit him on any panels or committees...he will be nothing but one vote. Who cares?

    February 18, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  11. peakarack

    More drama from Barack Hussein Obama friends. lmao!!!!!

    February 18, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. Once you vote Black

    I like how the Senate let him make his own bed. He has nobody to blame. Did they prove that he did this for that? Is trying to do this for that enough?

    February 18, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. Alan

    Isn't it funny how when a Republican does something crooked all of the repubs come out and defend him. Then when a Democrat does something crooked all of the dems come out and say, " the repubs do it".

    Sort of reminds one of grade school. If a politician does something wrong, they should be held accountable regardless of party. If the public would demand this, a lot of this foolishness would stop!

    It is obvious that Burris is a bad apple – He must go.

    February 18, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  14. bill in montgomery

    Don't worry, he won't lose his seat. The Senate will be afraid of being called racist if they try to get rid of a poor Black Man, who's being punished by "The Man"! Pretty soon, Jesse, Al and the rest of the so called "Black Leaders" will be all up in arms over the Whites trying to "lynch" a Black.

    The guy has to be really stupid. Has he listened to the testimony he gave on TV and now what's he's saying?. Leave him in Washington, they need another clown to go along with Reid, Kennedy, Pelosi, Frank, and Franken. Don't the networks know what they're missing by not creating a comedy with these clowns??? Maybe one of the skits could be "How to create jobs with Condoms" starring Nancy "Botox Face" Pelosi

    February 18, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. arithmetic is liberal

    (Reading these comments, I am very disturbed by the state of the country when the only thing that ever seems to get accomplished is increasing the hatred between the two parties – we need to get rid of this distructive two party system. Anyone out there have any ideas?)

    Well, we could start by actually having liberals and conservatives TALK to eachother instead of spew text at each other that would land each and every one of us a solid punch in the mouth if we said it on the street. I know that I am guilty of this as well.

    In all honesty, I don't think that it's that bad out there. It looks down right awful here on the Ticker, but mostly because people here are anonymous, and will say a lot of really crappy things to each other if they don't have accountability.

    I think that places like the Ticker just make people more angry at each other. I know for a fact that I walk away from this blog every day thinking that Republicans are the scum of the earth from what I read, and I'm sure they think the same of liberals (look at the comments of every Palin article for proof).

    February 18, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  16. vic

    Did Burris break any laws?
    If not, then leave him alone.
    Go after the real crooks like Coleman and Palin.

    February 18, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. Scott

    Tina,
    Since when have democrats worried about spending money the do not have?

    February 18, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  18. D.Tin

    Mr Burris made his bed, so now he should lie in it! He wanted to be a Senator so bad, he did not care about the taint associated with taking the appointment. That being said, with all that's going on, no one is Washington should be wasting time on this, let Illinois deal with it. Burris will not be running in 2010, so both parties should be looking ahead.

    February 18, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  19. herb

    Who got sucker in ? Not Burris; He was tainted from jump street and should have never been allowed to take the seat–you guys will never get him out . The people of Illinois will have to make that decesion.

    February 18, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  20. Mike, Syracuse NY

    I'm still waiting for the Congressional Black Caucus to speak up. They voted unanimously to seat him. What have they got to say for themselves? They played the race card, and got the joker! Hey Al Sharpton, speak up bro! Hey Jesse Jackson, where you at dawg?

    February 18, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  21. Yuck

    I just puked again.....

    It happens all the time anymore.....

    The Politician Virus is becoming overwhelming.....

    Is there an antibiotic for this?

    February 18, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  22. Dave

    Is there another story poking its head out here?

    Senator Durbin commented today "during a congressional trip to Europe". Nancy Pelosi and 7 other members of the House are "traveling to Aviano Air Base in Italy to meet with our brave airmen and women."

    So, having voted for the stimulus package designed to shore up the worst economy since the Great Depression, all the Democratic members of Congress decided it was a good time for them to take foreign junkets. Once more, our elected "leaders" don't see the need to lead by example.

    February 18, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  23. Ryan

    What would happen if America was stupd and elected Palin/McCain in regards to her tax issues? She is such a reformer!!

    February 18, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  24. Steve

    I continue to be dumbfounded by these public figures who do this stuff, and think it'll never come to light. It wasn't specifically illegal to do what Burris did, but it really smells of back room deals, Chicago style. With Blago's activities under such scrutiny, did Burris really think this wouldn't come to light? Did he not think about how this would look? No wonder the Dems tried to block you. They probably knew what you were up to. Now, because of your arrogance, you have once again given Illinois a black eye. Wonderful. I am sick to death of this stuff. BOTH parties are pulling this nonsense. Is there an honest man in politics?

    February 18, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  25. Breezy, Jackson TN.

    Wagon said: "Gee..another democrat that perjurs themselves. I'm totally and utterly shocked."

    So are we Democrats. These are REPUBLICAN traits as seen over the last eight years. If you were living under a rock, and need proof, just look at the mess they created of our beloved America.

    Leave now Burris! We are trying to rebuild our country, and restore the trust of the American people in our Government. Why give "fat boy" Rush, Fox idiots, and all of their nuts by association, peons the opportunity to do what they do best.

    Even if you have done nothing wrong, and I sincerely believe that you have, you did not "come correct" to the position you were seeking. A true man of good character would not have allowed a bonafide crook to appoint him to "anything."

    February 18, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
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