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. WrongKindofChange

    Of course that's all the comittee did was admonish him. Even if the evidence overwhelmingly showed otherwise, which it does, the comittee would only admonish him. Isn't it obvious the democrats need his vote?

    Does anyone actually believe they would admit his seating was unjust and illegal by kicking him out? Of course not...this is politics and the dems need his vote so they can push through they're "bad for country" agenda.

    November 20, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  2. Aspen Professor

    I have no idea whether Burris is qualified or not for a seat in the Senate (and I suspect very few people making statements here do), but there are SO MANY Repub Senators that fall short of the mark on truth these days that Burris cannot be much worse.

    November 20, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. Not Right or Left but Forward

    Illinois has always had agreat contrast in its politics. The Stevensons, and Paul Simon and Obama on one hand, and the string of governors/future inmates on the other. Burris falls somewhere in between. He was out of his league when Blago's people contacted him, and he probably shouldn't have taken the call.

    November 20, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. KSmith

    burris' photo should be a caption contest because that smile tells me; "you dirty rotten white scoundrels – i won! now give me the benefits i don't deserve." clearly he's counting his pension benefits in his head.

    held to a higher standard? let me get this straight... when i lie during an investigation i go to jail. when senators like burris omit truths they get a slap on the wrist and an overinflated salary and pension benefits? i now have a better caption for burris' photo – all you suckers should have jumped on this fraud train!

    November 20, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  5. Commonest Man

    Prosecutor: "Did you shoot 3 people in cold blood, as the videotape shows?"
    Defendant: "I ate 3 slices of watermelon for dinner!"

    A "truthful, but incomplete answer". Who's mother s have taught them that witholding the truth was not a lie?

    November 20, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    it seems to me if you are black and a member of congress. "you will be geared for failure" set up for the okey doke..... while the fbi let folks like palin skate and paul bremmer and the vanishing 9 billion dollars go up in smoke w/o a word. and EVERYONE is mumb about.

    November 20, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. Roland is OK

    Just because Blago was wago doesn't mean much. Burris is voting the way he should for IL. He keeps this up he actually could have a chance to keep his seat against Mark "the wannabe" Kirk . Actual a cow pie would keep his seat against Mark "flipper" Kirk.

    November 20, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  8. jeb

    if you are black and in congress you will be set-up. while in office its called being geared for failure.....

    November 20, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. O-BOW-MA

    "It takes a democrat to bring down USA"

    November 20, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. Nina Bates

    Senators must meet a higher standard of conduct! That's laughable.
    Many of you evase paying taxes, lie, cheat, push bills into law that hurt the people; you think you are above the law. Give me a break.

    November 20, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  11. Pat F

    Except for LacrosseMom's sort of feeble objection to Democrats being called socialists, the silence of the Democrats here is deafening!!!

    November 20, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. Emmanuel Goldstein

    Essentially, 20 lashes with a wet noodle.

    Oh, that has to sting, ouch (louder, fool), Ouch, Ouch.

    November 20, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  13. Lee

    Before anybody starts crying the Democrats got off one of their own, do a little research people. The Senate Ethics Committee has 6 members, 3 Democrats and 3 Republicans.

    November 20, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  14. Pedro

    Can't wait to see what happens with Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

    November 20, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Burris, did that Lousianna Senator clean out his freezer for you?

    what twisted probe cleared this criminal?

    November 20, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  16. Tanbiker2

    Burris belongs in jail in the cell next to Blagojevich.

    November 20, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. jjj

    If you are dark as in black you have no chance in this country...

    November 20, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. Denise

    The reason that this guy fought so hard to get this seat, even temporarily, is that once seated, even for a partial term, he is locked for a lifetime of FULL PENSION at, what? $130K? PLUS, lifetime coverage of the MEDICAL PLAN that these crooks voted for themselves!!! Not the scruffy medical plan that the BEST of us have even. Gold Plated Medical Coverage!
    *****************************
    Is this true? CNN – could you confirm this information? Talk about outrageous. That is much more of a news story than some silly "admonishment." This guy is a joke and an embarassment to the Democratic party.

    November 20, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. snood

    Pay to play the obama way ....But it was only Bush who had croines....just look at the diplomates and there campaign givings. not to mention the Czars........

    November 20, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  20. Jeremy

    @ SocialismBad

    You need to educate yourself before making such stupid comments. So what you're saying is that all of the republican corporations are legitimate and don't have bad ethical practices? Stop kidding yourself.

    Also, the law that was voted on DIDN"T GET PASSED because of REPUBLICANs blocking it.

    I wish you had passed it, then we who actually live in IL and have to deal with these corrupt morons would have been able to VOTE instead of having BLAGO appoint burris.

    Burris was cocky from the very beginning, he said 'it was his RIGHT' to become senator...NO Roland... not your RIGHT...you work for the PEOPLE, and none of us wanted you in there either.

    I don't care what party you're affiliated with, everyone in politics is looking out for their own personal gain... survival of the fittest, or most corrupt.

    November 20, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  21. andy

    Crooked Chicago politics. From ACORN to Pennsylvania Ave.

    November 20, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  22. Monty B.

    Can anyone here specifically name something Senator Burris did? I see a lot of slander and ill words towards him in this discussion, but I've yet to actually see what he specifically did to warrant this investigation or the ill words.

    November 20, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. welches, oregon

    CNN:

    cindy November 20th, 2009 12:49 pm ET
    This man was appointed by a sitting governor. Why are they attacking him? The governor was charged with corruption, not the senator.

    Geez Cindy – get a clue. He was charged with lying about taking bribes from Blogo for the senate seat. Try to keep up ok!

    November 20, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  24. bess

    is there even ONE ethical senator in congress?

    November 20, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. tr

    Oh boo freaking hoo. You guys are a laugh riot. Oh he's a terrible guy. Chicago politics. Crooks. He didn't do anything. EOS.

    November 20, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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