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. Steve

    Yea we all love him here in Illinois. Set to the seat by a crook named Blago and told it would cost 10G's But i guess the article is correct, they are holding him up to the Senates unbelievabley high standards of conduct. Moronic

    November 20, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  2. Barry In Las Vegas

    Lie to Congress – Lie Under Oath (Bill Clinton) that's what Democrats do and nothing happens but a slap on the hand.

    How pathetic.

    November 20, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  3. truebob

    I was hoping this was about Plaxico

    November 20, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  4. Jerry Mogensen

    All dems are crooks and all republicans are totally honest and ethical.

    This article is just an excuse for Republicans, who lost the public trust to claim they are the good guys when they are out of power. they certainly weren't any good when they were in. By the way the mess we are in that president Obama is dealing with was cause by the previous administration that swept most of their ethical problems under the rug. It works the same no matter what party does it.

    November 20, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. Ted

    Just another stooge of Illinois politics. Burris should not have gone forward on the senate job with the stain of Blagoyevich all over it.

    We citizens of Illinois deserve better, but many of our politicians are a bunch of corrupt, unethical, arrogant, and pompous asses.

    November 20, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  6. andrewstl

    i supports the dems against the crazy gop but truly burris is a mess. he looks just as confused as palin. both could be statutes for deer in headlights. the true shame is he gets a lifetime pension for being an ignorant fool

    November 20, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  7. Todd

    He deserved it. An opportunist if ever there was one.

    November 20, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  8. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Once again, CNN fails to identify the malfactor as a Democrat. The article only refers to "Democratic leaders," from which one is left to infer that Burris, too, is a Democrat.

    November 20, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  9. Always a Conservative

    There is nothing ethical about the Obama administration. Burris has no business fulfilling the remainder of Obama's seat. Then again, one must remember we are dealing with DemoCraps!

    November 20, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. Obama = WORST president EVER

    Major Dope.

    November 20, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. Todd

    As a Democrat I agree that he should have been admonsihed. He was misleading, although he did not flat out lie. So this was apropriate. He announced a while ago that he would not run for a full term. So there you have it. It isn't like he was trying to fondle boy pages.....

    November 20, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. Independent Voter

    "Burris is to the Democrats what Palin is to the Republicans."

    really, how long did it take to get a Palin comment in there. that is hilarious...

    November 20, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. Chanel

    I don't care what the ethics committee says, he donated to Blago and therefore played some part in Blago's "Senate seat for sale" fiasco. He'll lose in the next primary anyway

    November 20, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. TRA

    I still wonder what self respecting person would even want to touch that vacant seat if Blagovich was the going to fill it? It's was tainted and any one who involved themselves in it became tainted too. Burris reminds me of the guy who just wanted to cap his career with that title and ensure it was written on his self grandizing mausoleum. ......and let others choose the writings on your tombstone, its poor taste and extremely narcissistic to do that yourself before you die.

    November 20, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  15. terry,va

    What a surprise. Obummie and Chicago politics.

    November 20, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. Tommygunn

    Wow.....this is news but NOT HEADLINE stuff......

    I'm glad for Senator Burris.....

    Now let's move on with more business at hand...HEALTHCARE....

    November 20, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. Scott

    Wow, people should really do their homework before posting and name calling. First off, let me say that I wish Burris was never appointed. Blagojevich caused a huge headache by appointing someone, and Burris should have never been allowed to sit. However, I am thrilled that he is not going to run again, so he will be out of the spotlight after next year. But for those who say the Democrats got him out of this, let me remind you (or in all likelyhood tell you for the first time), that the Senate Ethics Committee has three Democrats, and three Republicans. The fact that Burris got away is just as much the blame of the Republicans as it is the Democrats. So stop being immature and agree that it's not all the Democrats fault this time. I know, it's hard, what being a partisan hack and all, but come on now. Grow up and read a civics book before you try an intellegent political discussion.

    November 20, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. Tiffany

    Republicans, please, get a L-I-F-E !!!!!!!!!!

    November 20, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. Marshall

    They let him go because they need his vote on this POS healthcare bill.

    November 20, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  20. Gasman

    The fraud was not in the appointment process itself, it was that Blagojevich was corrupt and Burris was susceptible to corruption and he is a liar. The notion that the special election is necessarily better is ridiculous. Many states have provisions for senatorial openings to be filled by gubernatorial appointments. I don't hear the GOP calling for sweeping national change. You can bet if the governor had been a Republican, they would have been just fine with the appointment process.

    November 20, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  21. LacrosseSon

    OH boy! Looks like my mom hasn't taken her medicine again! Luckily Roland Burris isn't running for re-election. It's clear the guy is corrupt and they are just playing Chicago style politics.

    November 20, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. Carl

    The only reason Burris was seated was because Congressman Bobby Rush publicly played the race card. Rush backed the Senate into a corner by observing they were going to block what would be the only African American in the Senate. Burris hurt his legacy by taking this appointment. He should have excused his appointment and let the new Governor of Illionis, Pat Quinn, appoint the replacement. Instead Burris let an alleged ciminal, Blagodvocich, appoint thereby tarnishing him as a Senator.

    November 20, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  23. Shari

    Blago appointed Burris as a final middle finger salute just before Blago was indicted and kicked-out of office. I have to think that most of the gentle-handling here is because Burris isn't running for re-election. He's a joke here in Illinois. We're counting the days until he's gone.

    November 20, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  24. Felonious Monk

    "senators must meet a much higher standard of conduct"
    Just who do they think they are fooling?
    Senators/congressional members have completely done away with anything remotely near "higher standards of conduct"?
    Any and all of our elected officials are nothing more than a bunch of self serving criminals.
    Criminal pieces of @&^$!

    November 20, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  25. Dave in Ohio

    Of course, why proceed any further to investigate this. After all, it will only lead back to Rahm Emanuel and they can't let that happen.

    November 20, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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