(CNN) - Roland Burris on Thursday denied any quid pro quo with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for his appointment to the U.S. Senate during testimony before a panel weighing whether to impeach Blajojevich.
Burris also told lawmakers he had no conversations with Blagojevich about his desire to step into the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
The former state attorney general appeared before an impeachment committee of state legislators in Springfield, Illinois, to explain his ties to that state's tainted governor.
Illinois Republicans want to know whether Burris, a Democrat, was "paying to play." GOP lawmakers point to state records showing that Burris and his lobbying firm contributed more than $20,000 to the governor's political campaigns.
The question is reverberating back to Washington, where Democratic leaders have been blocking Burris from taking the Senate seat. They say his appointment is tainted because it was made by Blagojevich, who was arrested last month and accused of trying to sell the seat for money and influence.
Blagojevich has not been indicted and remains governor. He and Burris say the appointment is legal.