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. Sad Story

    It is sad when you have those with questionable association ruling on ethical issues. This is a sad day for America.. Jail time.. is needed here..

    November 20, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. Terry, TX

    Surprise ...surprise...surpise.....Murtha, Dodd, Schumer, Waters, Franks are just as unethical and crooks....Nancy ain't going to touch her boys and girls.....Not going to happen....so you do it voters.

    November 20, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. Susan from Seattle

    Burris is to the Democrats what Palin is to the Republicans.
    I know the ideal is that anyone can get into politics, but does it really have to be ANYone?

    November 20, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. Tim

    This is the man that Obama and the rest of the Democrats welcomed into the sentate in order to get his vote. How about they be held to the same high standards?

    What am I saying, never mind. That doesn't make any sense. A bout of reason hit me. Sorry.

    November 20, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. matthew

    It has not happened, getting 60 votes, why would they get their stuff together now? Maybe somthing good would happen for once.

    November 20, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. No Incumbents 2010

    Now Burris can run for re-election. All of those ethics issues were just a big misunderstanding. By the time of the election in 2010 this will be old news.

    November 20, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. Dave

    This is just another sad example of the real problem in this country. The biggest problem is not health care reform but getting honorable people in Washington. It is just hard to understand why politics is so corrupting and that those that should be serving us are more interested in power, getting reelected, greed, and ideology than they are in doing what is right for our children and grandchildren.

    November 20, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. Tim

    By the way, he lied about his contacts with the Blago camp under oath. But we don't need to hold our politicians to a standard that requires them to be truthful.

    November 20, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. Jeff

    Illinois, the only state giving Louisiana a run for its money for being the king of political corruption.

    November 20, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. Ted from Calif.

    This wheeler-dealer deserved to be admonished for his less than honorable actions. He seriously flirted with perjury in his answers to questions about his relationship and actions with the Blagojevich administration.

    November 20, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. Royster

    The only Good news here is that Burris has already announced he won't run again! Sounds like a backroom compromise to me.

    Why are you Republicans complaining? This keeps one Senate seat weak, embattled, and up for change come the next election...isn't that what you WANT?

    Finally, Give Me a Break.....Palin went thru EIGHT ethics investigations...where are your complaints abour Her going free?? Obvious wrongdoing there also. Let's call it the same for both teams.

    November 20, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  12. Get Smart

    They can't stop the OBAMA appointments. He is getting his men in place. BEWARE of the Islamic movement.

    November 20, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  13. Laverne

    Roland Burris should have not taken the position in the first place cause only a disaster could happen when dealing with Blagojevich. BUT, capitol hill and others are acting as if they are shocked. This goes on all day, everyday in politics and I say don't just admonish one, admonish all who are found to be in unethical. That is one thing that disturbs me about America, we have such a double standard about everything!

    November 20, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  14. buckwheat

    Congress won't throw the questionable out because they know they might be in the hot seat as soon as they are caught.

    November 20, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. Doug - Dallas

    Another whitewash; do they punish one their own?

    November 20, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  16. Sea.gem

    More Dem cover-up...why no mention about Jesse Jackson's latest ugly remarks at the CBC and his admonishing a member for not walking the line with other blacks?...this man is a disgrace...the last thing he wants is equality or social justice...a tired parasite to the people who believed his self-serving tirades.

    November 20, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  17. Fair is Fair

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

    Last time I checked, you had to get ELECTED before you get re-elected.

    November 20, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  18. SocialismBad

    The Senate has standards??? Now THAT is news!

    Actually, if they did have standards, Harry Reid, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank would have been thrown out years ago.

    November 20, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. Padraig

    When Senator Obama was elected to be President there should have been an eleection to replace him. The people of the state should have choosen. Not a corrupt system installing a corrupt unethical poliltician to fill the open senate seat. Corruption breads corruption.

    November 20, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  20. JO

    What did anyone expect? We can only hope for a true revolution during the next elections. Every incumbant – OUT! Send the message America, if you truly don't like the current business as usual, get off your collective butts, tell your representatives that they're out. Not out if they don't change. That's been said. Tell them OUT no matter what and not to waste any campaign money. We need a national "RECALL-THEM-ALL" web site similar to the one for CA. Burris, Murtha, Frist, Santorum and many more need to be gone.

    November 20, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  21. db

    Man, if this scoundrel were GOP, he'd be all over the news as a poster-child for political corruption.

    November 20, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. diridi

    pass this health care and talk...

    November 20, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  23. James

    "...senators must meet a much higher standard of conduct" What a joke. Congress members, both Democrat and Republican, are constantly getting arrested or charged with crimes or shady morals. Their standard of conduct seems to be much lower than the average person on the street. I really wish we would limit everyone to two terms or 6 years so these people couldn't get so entrenched they feel like they can take all the money people throw at them.

    November 20, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  24. LacrosseMom

    We have here the typical vile GOPers comments. The name calling, the branding of Liberals as ........ socialists!

    People need to look up the meaning of socialism and communism!

    Believe me (I lived in a communist country) IF President Obama was a socialist or a communist. you, GOPers, would not be allowed to rant about him everyday! You couldn't own your own homes, businesses would have been confiscated; Freedoms of Speech, etc., would have ended already!

    GOPers have to be careful, because YOU TOO have a LONG LIST OF CROOKS! People who live in glass houses, should not throw stones!

    November 20, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  25. Pete

    Its same old story over and over .burris is just nat ,compared to the ones who did the investigation and all them are worse than Burris to begin with
    unless the Free Americans change the rules of the game tiutled Washington fill the Pocket
    ,but don't get caught deal .Happy Days to burris

    November 20, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
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