November 20th, 2009
06:12 PM ET
4 years ago

Senate Ethics Committee admonishes Burris

Senate Ethics Committee clears Burris of legal wrongdoing.
Senate Ethics Committee clears Burris of legal wrongdoing.

Washington (CNN) –The Senate Ethics Committee issued a letter Friday admonishing embattled Illinois Sen. Roland Burris "for actions and statements reflecting unfavorably upon the Senate" in connection with his controversial appointment by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

"While the committee did not find that the evidence before it supported
any actionable violations of law, senators must meet a much higher standard of conduct," the letter stated.

Burris, currently the only African-American U.S. senator, is serving the remaining two years of President Barack Obama's Senate term, but he has never been embraced by his party's leaders in Illinois or Capitol Hill.

He was appointed to the seat last December by Blagojevich, who was later impeached, removed from office and arrested on federal corruption charges alleging that he tried to sell Obama's seat to the highest bidder.


Democratic leaders urged Blagojevich, who has maintained his innocence, not to make an appointment. He disregarded those wishes by naming Burris, a former state attorney general and state comptroller, to the seat.

Burris, for his part, was suspected of perjury in connection with his testimony on Blagojevich's alleged "pay for play" scheme to fill the Senate seat. But in June, the state's attorney in Sangamon County, Illinois, said he would not charge Burris.

The state's attorney, John Schmidt, said Burris gave incomplete but truthful answers to questions about his conversations with Blagojevich's representatives.

In July, Burris said he would not run for a full six-year term in 2010.

(Updated 12pm)


Filed under: Roland Burris
soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. Jim

    Burris is just one of the players. The President of the SEIU is the most frequent visitor to the White House, so far. The Chicago Tribune reported early in the Blago scandal that one of the "pay for play" offers on the table was a high paying job for Blago or his wife in a new not-for-profit established and paid for by the SEIU in return for their getting to choose the new Senator. Remember? No problem for President Obama to meet frequently with a Blago co-conspirator?

    November 20, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Dar

    So he lied a little, the Dems need his vote and that was the deal. You stay and you vote Yea. It is the Chicago way.
    Dont think that Odumbo didn't have his dirty little fingers in this.

    November 20, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. Jasmine in Germany

    Burris acted in poor taste. Lots of politicians do, but Burris must have known he'd be under the spotlight. That made his actions worse and showed his true colors; it's okay to be low class as long as you yourself get ahead, that's the American way. In my view, whatever good Burris did during his political career has been destroyed by this single action on his part. I lost all respect for him when he claimed (wih demand) to have become "Senator".

    November 20, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Eli Witherspoon

    One question: Why did the author leave out Burris's political party affiliation? Seems if he were a Republican, his affiliation would be there.

    November 20, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. WeThePeopleofVirginia

    Is it any wonder the American public hold these people in contempt.

    Birds of a feather they are . . . remember start picking them off from the back of the flock.

    Bird season is in November 2010.

    Big Game hunting is November 2012.

    November 20, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. JES

    If he was a Republican they would ask for his head.

    Is this a great country or what starting to look Third World.

    November 20, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. WoW

    If this gentleman was a republican, liberals would be calling for his head. Liberals are not bi-partisan AT ALL. Liberals do not see both ends of the spectrum. They just shake their heads every time Obama talks. They don't research facts on their own. Bottom like is this man was in a pay for play scheme and should be taken out.

    Charles Rangel should be taken out as well but that will never happen because liberals do not treat both sides with the same fairness unfortunately.

    November 20, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. Mike from Pekin, IL

    Does anyone else notice the irony in the members of the Senate Ethics Committee admonishing Mr. Burris that "Senators must be held to a higher standard"? Like Larry Craig or any of the other lowlifes currently serving or who previously served?

    November 20, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  9. Tom L

    @Mlhll
    The person to feel sorry for is you. You really have to stop with the "you just can't stand seeing a black man as president" mantra. It's tired, old and simply not true.

    The only people that reference the ethnic heritage of our president is the left. People on the right never even mention this.

    November 20, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  10. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    "That's the Chicago way."

    Of course the dems won't do anything to him–they need that crucial 60th vote!

    November 20, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. W l Jones

    One thing you cannot denied in politic a liberal can speak on any subject on a momentt notice. Maybe that why conservative say they lied do tho the fact they don^t have time to reserach every word they say..

    November 20, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  12. LacrosseDad

    .....and he took it with a smile.

    November 20, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  13. John Ca.

    I think this guy should not get any more tax payer dollars because he got kick out of Public Office.

    November 20, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  14. Maurice, MI

    What does he care? He still gets the pension and "Senator" placed on his tombstone. Congress is so stupid, they should have kicked him to the curb–and I'm African American.

    This dope Burris, gives politics a bad name. He played Congress like a fiddle and now they want to admonish him. Boo hoo, he's not hurting one bit.

    I hope the citizens of Illinois get rid of him as soon as possilbe. They never voted to have him there in the first place. He's like a spider that climbed from under a rock and ran into the Congress. Yuck.

    November 20, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  15. John Ca.

    The United States Senate acts it is working for America Greed because Congress.org will do anything for money. Six lobby men and women to every Congress 's Members.

    November 20, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  16. Albo58

    Burris is a fine example of the Democrat Party! He's a born liar and ethically-challenged. Of course perjury was declared a legal act by Bill Clinton so no harm, no foul.

    November 20, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  17. Jason, OR

    I"m a Democrat I can't stand Burris. What has he done for Illinois? NOTHING.

    He's riding on the coat tails of Barack Obama and not very well, I might add. He's a poor excuse for a Senator and the sooner he's gone, the better.

    November 20, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  18. Rigoman33

    What BIASED REPORTING from CNN!! Absolutely NO mention that this guy is a DEMOCRAT. Let me repeat that. A DEMOCRAT!! If this were a Republican, that fact would have been all over this article. I'm an independent but this is somewhat beyond the pale. No wonder CNN is getting its clock cleaned by the other cable networks.

    November 20, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  19. frank, pennsylvania

    Senator Burris did is not worse than the best sitting Senator! Come on guys, lets give him some chance to contribute his ideas to this great nation!

    November 20, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  20. no longer a democrat

    I still remember that idiot CNN guy Roland Martin chanting"Seat Roland Burriss"!

    what a joke.......

    November 20, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  21. ib

    If he was a conservative he would already be out on the street. My; how demo's cover their own and get by with it. Pathetic

    November 20, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  22. valwayne

    Where are the tapes between Blagojevich and Obama's staff? Why haven't we heard them? This was a corrupt mess from start to finish, but the serious corruption is little Sen Burris its in the White House. We need to hear those tapes? Why are they being hidden?

    November 20, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  23. CNN afraid of a liberal post

    Why aren't they investigating Bachmann. After all when you incite to riot and incite people to do harm to representatives shouldn't you be investigated. I think so.

    November 20, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  24. Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

    "One question: Why did the author leave out Burris's political party affiliation? Seems if he were a Republican, his affiliation would be there."

    The answer: the article makes his party affiliation clear, but you have to actually read it. But more to the point, do you Gopers have any idea how whiny you sound? Like the little kid always complaining that his brother got a bigger toy or piece of cake.

    November 20, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  25. D.

    A democrat with this past is warned, if he were a republican he would have been booted.....
    Democrats= "The party of No control"

    November 20, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
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