November 20th, 2009
06:12 PM ET
5 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. Sniffit

    I'm getting worried about you CNN, is everything alright? It's nearly noon (EST) and there hasn't been a single Palin story yet today.

    November 20, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. Jackie in Dallas

    Pot, meet kettle...!

    November 20, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. No More Incumbents

    Senate Ethics Committee. Talk about an oxymoron.

    November 20, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. Idiot_Pelosi

    Of course the crooked DUMocRATS cleared him.

    November 20, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. Dave

    "Senate Ethics Comittee"

    isn't that an ironic title

    November 20, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Let the republican bashing begin. Poor Roland. He won't get re-elected if he wanted to.

    November 20, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  7. Mike Syracuse, NY

    First the Democratic dominated panel clears Domocratic Senator Dodd, and now Democratic Senator Burris. Change we can believe in.

    November 20, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. Slider

    But, of course, Democrats are always innocent.

    Just ask them...

    How's that hopey-changey thing workin' out for all you maggots?

    November 20, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. Aaron P

    That's crap! He intentionally left information out in his hearings about discussions he previously had with the former Governors assocites. He should be censured. They just did not want this to be another distraction with all that's going on. FYI, I am a loyal staunch Democrat. The kind that, if a close family member of mine came to me a said that they were running for office on the (R) ticket, I would immediately release any trash on them that I had.

    November 20, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. Gale

    Yeah, and he will keep denying any wrong doing and running for office like all the other Democrats. And they have the gall to keep on lying to their supporters and their supporters have the stupidity to keep on voting for them.

    November 20, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. Chris

    Theres a big SURPRISE!

    November 20, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. Just Biding My Time

    Of course. A Dumb-o-CRAP found a crook innocent. Gotta love the congressional crooks!

    November 20, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  13. Jane

    Imagine that....a bunch of crooks letting another crook slip by. We need to clean all these people out of congress. I am tired of the do as we say not as we do.....not paying taxes, getting favorable loans, running our country into debt and telling us what is good for us. Last time I checked they work for us.

    November 20, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  14. mark

    Big shock there.. typical Chicago politics.

    November 20, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  15. gt

    gee... thats a news i was sure they would nail him,,,, not,,,,fox guarding the hen house,,,,,ugh....

    November 20, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  16. koppre

    How can congressmen admonish another for failing to meet a much higher standard when each of them stoop to taking money from the treasury to fund a lavish retirement plan for themselves.

    Give us a break. Repeal any retirement plan for congress. They all earn much more for speaking engagments, lobbying, etc. just for their congressional experience. Not having a lavish retirement plan might encourage them to not make being a congressmen a lifetime endeavor. Do your duty then get a normal job. Our congress seem to me to have this high level of 'entitlement' while telling the american citizen to make do with what they have. Cut backs should begin at the top, one laid off high administrator creates money for 5 average employees.

    November 20, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  17. Phil Thompson

    Legal and Ethics have different connotations.

    It is clear the Senate committee is made up of those who stay in the legal limits while mauling ethics. Business as usual in Washington.

    BUT, sometimes they stray outside the legal limits, in which case they get to go to their rooms and miss dinner that night, nothing more serious. What a joke our "leaders" are.

    November 20, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  18. Kraig Rasool

    Its the same old-boy system at it finest...once you are cleared of
    wrong-doing...sure we will put it in writing and smile and kee-kee with
    you doing conversations at lunch and social gatherings. However we
    will not forget your conduct and we will always remember it especially
    after a few drinks at the watering holes around town...It seems to me
    a hard pill to swallow working around those who have accused me
    consistently in the past only to turn face and admonish me so that the
    public can at least stop growling about it...If the man did no wrong-doing it not only should be admonished but also forgotten completely and buried along with the hatchet of ill will.

    November 20, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  19. markb

    He Lied, He Cheated, and He was appointed by a crooked Govenor . But, he is still allowed to be a senator. Come to think of it 2 out of the 3 are requirements for the senate!

    November 20, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. Manhattan

    I have a novel idea, let's award Burris the Nobel Prize! He's outstanding Senator who wears nice ties and smiles too.

    What a joke.

    November 20, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. John

    Sure they cleared him. They are all unethical themselves and don't want to blacken their own eyes.

    November 20, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. B

    This is a Classic example of why this country is headed towards a- third world- country status!

    November 20, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. Jane/Seattle

    Wonder how much manipulation and legal wrangling this decision cost? Just obfuscate, manipulate, and pay your way through legal processes–the revolving doors of Just-Us, er justice. One door opens to the great freedom of wealth ass the other slams shut on the poor and un-lawyered up! So many ethical issues surface to just get swept back under the rug as the tickers keep ticking and switching from topic to topic. It's enough to make a multi-tasker loose track! Integrity is a terrible thing to not find in one's ruling classes-from corporate bottom lines to complicit governments. Peace

    November 20, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. A Kickin' Donkey

    When you can't get take a man wdown with the truth and the facts .... rumor and innuedo to attack his character and integrity are the next best thing .... this from the Devil's handbook.

    Whether you like or dislike Mr. Burris, you'll have to agree with that.

    Overall, we'd be a much better country if we'd stop working so hard to manufacture dirt on people.

    November 20, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  25. David from S Illinois

    This guy should have NEVER been given the title of U.S. Senator. The people of this State would have NEVER voted him into that office. We'll can't wait for 2010 so we can vote a real Senator into office and send Burris packing.

    November 20, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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