CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Illinois Republican leaders on Sunday called for a perjury investigation of Sen. Roland Burris, questioning if he "purposely deceived the public" last month by failing to tell state lawmakers that then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich's brother solicited him for campaign cash.
Burris confirmed Sunday that Blagojevich's brother, Rob, asked him to contribute or help raise money before the governor tapped Burris on December 30 to fill President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat.
"I made clear to him I would not contribute [to the governor's campaign] because it would be inappropriate because I had expressed my interest in the Senate seat," Burris, a Democrat, told reporters at a news conference. "I did not donate one single dollar."
Burris has come under fire for leaving out the conversations during his January 8 testimony before the Illinois House impeachment panel investigating the governor. He emphasized Sunday that he addressed those conversations in an affidavit he submitted this month to supplement his testimony.
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - The brother of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich solicited Sen. Roland Burris, D-Illinois, for up to $10,000 in campaign cash before Burris was named to his Senate seat, according to Burris staffers and an affidavit obtained Saturday by CNN.
However, in the affidavit, Burris said he refused to contribute to Blagojevich or to assist in fundraising for him.
Burris' appointment by Blagojevich was hotly disputed, as Blagojevich is facing corruption charges. Prosecutors' allegations against him include that he attempted to sell the Senate seat, vacated by President Barack Obama upon his election, to the highest bidder. He was ousted from office last month by Illinois lawmakers.
In his January 8 testimony before an Illinois House impeachment panel, Burris, the former Illinois attorney general, said he had no conversations with Blagojevich about his desire to be appointed to the seat prior to Blagojevich's December 9 arrest. Burris also said that he was not aware of any "quid pro quo"
with the former governor.
"I can for this committee state that there was no legal, personal or political exchange for my seat," Burris said.
(CNN) – Illlinois senator Roland Burris has some work to do if hopes to keep his seat in 2010.
A third of the state’s registered voters believe Burris should not run in 2010 when his appointed term expires, according to a new poll from the Chicago Tribune. Just 37 percent of voters think Burris should seek the seat, and 29 percent said they weren’t sure.
Burris has run for statewide office multiple times but hasn’t won an election since 1990, when he was elected attorney general.
Although Burris has never been accused of wrongdoing in the tumultuous appointment process that brought him to the Senate, he could face questions in a political campaign about his association with disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.
Only 34 percent of voters in the state have a favorable view of Burris, according to the survey, with 18 percent holding an unfavorable opinion. A plurality of Illinois voters - 43 percent - have no opinion of him.
The confusion around the appointments of new senators from both Illinois and New York is causing many to call for an end to a governor's ability to appoint a Senate replacement. What's the best solution? CNN's Bill Schneider takes a look. (Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Veteran Illinois politician Roland Burris was sworn in as the junior U.S. senator from Illinois on Thursday afternoon, following an extended political battle to claim the seat.
Watch: Burris becomes a senator
After being denied entry into the hallowed chamber last week, Burris was warmly welcomed Thursday by Senate colleagues, including Majority Leader Harry Reid.
"Whatever complications surrounded his appointment, we made it clear from the beginning, both publicly and privately, that our concern was never with Mr. Burris," Reid said. "I didn't have the pleasure of meeting Mr. Burris until last week. I found now-Senator Burris to be engaging, gracious, and he was very firm in his commitment to become a good and effective United States senator.
"Given the uncertainty around his appointment, all of his statements and actions, again both publicly and privately, reflected his strong character that will serve him well as be begins his service to the people of Illinois," Reid added.
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) – Veteran Illinois politician Roland Burris headed to Washington for his official Senate swearing-in Thursday afternoon.
"It's called faith. And we knew that we were in the right. The law was on our side. And all we had to do was prevail," he said of his political struggle to claim his Senate seat. Embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed him to fill the junior senator position vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
"We are on our way to Washington to be sworn in. And I'm looking forward to it," Burris said as he left Chicago's O'Hare airport Thursday morning with his wife. "As a matter of fact, I will go to work this evening. There will be votes taken tonight and tomorrow. The family will be coming back tonight (to Chicago). But I will have to go to work."
Senate Democratic leaders said Monday that the former Illinois attorney general presented the appropriate credentials for his Senate appointment.
Some Senate Democrats had argued that Burris should not be seated because he was appointed by Blagojevich, who has been impeached on corruption charges by the Illinois House of Representatives and is accused of attempting to "sell" the seat Obama vacated.
Blagojevich now faces a trial in the Illinois Senate.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – It's a day of four farewells and a hello here in the nation's capitol.
President Bush goes in front of cameras in prime time tonight to give a farewell address to the country.
This morning Joe Biden says goodbye to the chamber where he's served for 36 years. The senior Senator from Delaware is stepping down in advance of his inauguration Tuesday as Vice President of the United States. Also giving farewell speeches today on the Senate floor are Senators Hillary Clinton of New York and Ken Salazar of Colorado. Clinton's in line to serve as Secretary of State in the incoming Barack Obama Administration and Salazar to serve as Interior Secretary. Both Clinton and Salazar are expected to be confirmed by the Senate.
Amid all these farewells is a hello. Roland Burris is scheduled to be sworn in this afternoon as the junior Senator from Illinois. Burris will be replacing Obama, who stepped down from his seat in November after winning the presidential election. Burris was named to the seat by embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who faces federal corruption charges and has been impeached by state lawmakers. Among the allegations is that Blagojevich tried to sell Obama's vacant Senate seat. Senate Democrats initially tried to keep Burris out of the Senate because of Blagojevich's legal and political troubles.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Illinois senior senator and Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin said in a Monday statement that the Senate would accept the credentials of Roland Burris. Full statement follows:
“The Secretary of the Senate has determined that the new credentials presented today on behalf of Mr. Burris now satisfy Senate Rules and validate his appointment to the vacant Illinois Senate seat. In addition, as we requested, Mr. Burris has provided sworn testimony before the Illinois House Committee on Impeachment regarding the circumstances of his appointment.
“We have spoken to Mr. Burris to let him know that he is now the Senator-designate from Illinois and as such, will be accorded all the rights and privileges of a Senator-elect.
“Accordingly, barring objections from Senate Republicans, we expect Senator-designee Burris to be sworn in and formally seated later this week. We are working with him and the office of the Vice President to determine the date and time of the swearing-in.
“As we had outlined to Mr. Burris, a path needed to be followed that respects the rules of the Senate. We committed to Mr. Burris that once those requirements were satisfied, we would be able to proceed. We are pleased that everything is now in order, we congratulate Senator-designee Burris on his appointment and we look forward to working with him in the 111th Congress.”
(CNN) - A senior Democratic senator told CNN Monday the Senate was moving toward seating Roland Burris because "when you're dealt a losing hand, you skip to the end."
The senator, who asked not to be quoted by name because of the sensitivties of the situation, called the current situation a "mess" that Democratic leaders are anxious to end, and said that a leading idea is to seat Burris "without prejudice" - which, under Senate rules, would allow them the ability to revisit the issue, since Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is in such uncertain legal territory.
Another senior Democratic source insists the details on how to seat Burris haven't been decided.
But given the assessment of the senior senator, and remarks made by Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin Sunday, it doesn't appear Burris will go through the lengthy process Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Durbin described last week - marking an apparent reversal by Democratic leaders.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The fate of Senate-appointee Roland Burris could be decided as soon as Monday, Democratic sources said, as the Senate's Parliamentarian and legal counsel worked over the weekend deciphering Senate rules to determine if Burris has met the requirements for admittance.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White cleared the main road block to Burris' appointment by submitting a new document to the Secretary of the Senate on Friday that contained both his signature and the official seal of Illinois, two elements which were missing from the official letter of appointment by Gov. Rod Blagovich, a Democrat, in December.
The new letter was also submitted in conjunction with a revised version of Blagojevich's original certificate of appoint. The date of the revised certificate was changed to January 09, 2009 and the space for White's signature was removed.
White's new document states:
"I, Jesse White, Secretary of State of the State of Illinois, do hereby certify that the attached is a true and accurate copy of a certificate of appointment made by the Governor of the State of Illinois and duly filed in the Office of the Secretary of State of Illinois."
Sen. Dick Durbin, currently the lone Senator from Illinois, told reporters on Sunday, "This thing changes by the day."