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. E.C.Coleman

    IF it looks like a lie, smells like a lie, sounds like a lie..........it is a LIE!
    Burris was so thrilled that he might get Obama's Senate seat that he would have done anything.
    What a disgrace!
    Just another one of those Democratic Cronies, like all the REST ....who were found to be TAX EVADERS!
    What a bunch of low life Obama has raked up for the White House!

    February 18, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  2. Stay Active

    The man needs to go.

    February 18, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  3. Prof. X

    HHmm, guess that it is getting harder to trust Democrats from Chicago, hope this is a lession to everyone.

    February 18, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  4. arithmetic is liberal

    “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.”

    Then why did you hide it in the first place? If you've done nothing wrong, why didn't you demonstrate that?

    February 18, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  5. Harry Reid Was Right

    Harry Reid was right – Burris should not have been accepted into the U.S. Senate. Black leaders exerted so much pressure that Harry Reid didn't prevail. But Reid was right. Look what's happened. And it wasn't about race. It was about the taint of Blagojevich. Anyway, the solution is for Burris to pledge not to run in 2010, so that he ends up being nothing than a 1-year caretaker. He's in his 70s, so that might be acceptance to him.

    February 18, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  6. Anita

    Could we and the Media give Burris a break already. Let's wait and see how he performs as a Senator.
    p.s. The man is an attorney. Ya think he might be factual in his representations and it's just that some of us have mis-interpreted what he has said.

    February 18, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  7. Lois, Ont., Canada

    I think Burris should step aside. If he doesn't , the Senate should 'boot him out', faaast!!!!

    February 18, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  8. just dallas

    SO WHAT!!! iF society hadn't become such over reachers and institgators the man probably wouldn't have been vague and more forthcoming. the man got thru get over it and move on the country's going to the dogs. And everybody I mean everybody stay busy worrying about the wrong thing. From the sounds of what Mr burris is saying now really sounds like normal Chicago political jargen.

    February 18, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  9. BKB

    I am a democrat so I want a democrat in that seat but this guy is an unwanted distraction. Go away Burris you are no help to your state or the USA. Game over go home.

    February 18, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  10. Once you vote Black

    You know I just figured out why the MaHaRushie and other right wingers have resorted to calling Obama the One. It’s because they have to build him up in their minds in order to accept that fact that they have just had their heads handed to them by some unknown black guy. Think about it. If he is not all of that then that means they had their pants taken down by some Chicago chump. But if he is the one then they can understand it. Little do they know that this is all part of the combined efforts of PUMA and Operation Chaos? The GOP actually has us right where they want us.

    February 18, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  11. SHECKY

    This guy is a criminal just like the rest of the crew from Illinois: Blago, Obama, Wright, Ayers.

    February 18, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    america we need to clean house starting with this thug ....get out !!!!

    February 18, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  13. Larry

    The Democratic party is primarily made up of people like Burris,just about every day there is something in the news about ethics or breaking the law,and few if any Democrats even raise an eye brow,but if any thing is mentioned about Sarah Palin,all the Democrats become vary pious,and have issues ....what's with that ? Are you all hipocrites?

    Will Burris get, or keep a Senate retirement out of this farce ?

    February 18, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  14. Francisco Cardenas

    LEAVE BURRIS ALONE. He didn't lie ... any more than Senator David Vitter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 18, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  15. Jero

    nobody should be appointed by Blagojevich! If burris chooses to resign / must resign, it is somewhat ironic that he was able to vote for perhaps the most important piece of legislation of the 21st century.

    February 18, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  16. Tony58

    Let Congress investigate Representative Eric Cantor from Virginia. His wife's bank (New York Private Bank and Trust, a branch of Emigrant Bank) got 55 million dollars from the bailout that he voted "for" as opposed to the stimulus package that he voted "against." I guess his wife didn't get any money from the Obama stimulus package.

    February 18, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  17. GM

    How does our AG have the GALL to call us "a nation of COWARDS on race" when we have a black President and a black A.G. ?
    What we are, however, is a nation of COWARDS, and our news media is FULL of COWARDS, when it comes to being able to have the GUTS to scrutinize and criticize officials who happen to be black.
    INTERESTINGLY,NO ONE in the media or anywhere else SEEMS to have a problem with mercilessly piling on public officials who happen to be WOMEN !!!!!

    February 18, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  18. Arden

    Can we please remove Burris from the senate and put Caroline Kennedy in . RE-election is in 2010. I am sick of hearing about him and we have enough problems to deal with that are far more serious.

    February 18, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  19. Ryan Borman

    This is what change looks like?

    February 18, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  20. Brad S. in Knoxville, TN

    Kick his can out of the Senate immediately, Oh Please!

    February 18, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  21. Mike O'Brien

    "There is something about this guy.., that I feel 'uncomfortable' about. Maybe, Campbell Brown is right.., watch your step with this guy." Mike in Montana

    February 18, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  22. pete

    Oh look everyone, the circus is so wonderful this year. Everyone should take a look at the chicago tribune cover today. A picture of Bozo alongside Burris. How appropriate. The only thing missing is Obama. Had he done the right thing from the beginning, insist on a new election instead of preasuring others to sweep the controversy under the rug before his inaguration, none of this would have happened. And Reid is so feckless, it's pathetic.

    Change stooges can believe in.

    February 18, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  23. pete

    Breezy in Jackson TN, You seem to be blinded by your politics. Obama could have resolved all of this by backing the calls for a special election, but instead he didn't want to risk the seat going to a Republican.

    The only change Obama has offered is a change from his campaign rhetoric, on all sides. He has not lived up to one thing he said he would, and he is disappointing both his critics and his left wing loons. Amazing that he can do both.

    February 18, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  24. Ryan

    Does this sound familiar, "I’ve done nothing wrong and I have absolutely nothing to hide."??

    February 18, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  25. John Anthony Castro

    BOTTOM LINE: HE USED HIS ATTORNEY DURING HIS APPOINTMENT PROCESS TO TIP-TOE AROUND QUESTIONS.

    INTENTIONALLY NOT DISCLOSING THE FULL AND COMPLETE TRUTH IS THE MORAL EQUIVALENT OF LYING.

    HE SHOULD RESIGN.

    February 18, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
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