February 18th, 2009
06:55 PM ET
14 years ago

Durbin: Senate ethics investigation of Burris underway

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/12/art.burris12.gi.jpg caption="Burris admitted this week he had several discussions about fundraising with Blagojevich."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said Wednesday that a Senate ethics panel is investigating Sen. Roland Burris following his disclosure that he had spoken with Rod Blagojevich's brother about raising money for the disgraced former governor while seeking appointment to the Senate.

Durbin’s comments came shortly before Rep. Phil Hare, a Democrat from western Illinois, became the first member of Congress to publicly call on Burris to step down, describing the ongoing Blagojevich saga as “a recurring nightmare.”

“Given this latest revelation, I believe it is in the best interest of all Illinoisans that Senator Burris resigns,” Hare said in a statement. “Our state and its citizens deserve the whole truth, not bits and pieces only when it is convenient.”

Durbin, a member of the Senate Democratic leadership, told reporters during a congressional trip to Europe that “the Ethics Committee of the Senate is undertaking an investigation.”

“That is the appropriate thing at this point,” Durbin said.

He added that public statements by Burris in recent days “have raised questions which need to be looked at very carefully, as to the nature of his relationship with the former governor and the circumstances surrounding his appointment.”

Burris defended himself in another press conference Wednesday, and said he welcomed any investigations into his actions by the Senate or the state of Illinois.

“I ask you today to stop the rush to judgment,” he said. “You know the real Roland. I’ve done nothing wrong and I have absolutely nothing to hide.”

Filed under: Dick Durbin • Roland Burris
soundoff (219 Responses)
  1. Reggie

    Note to cartoonists out there: If a truck carrying a load of watermellons causes a 30 car pile-up on the Golden Gate Bridge in the next 24hrs, don't use that as part of your political cartoons attacking Burris.

    February 18, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  2. Maggie


    February 18, 2009 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  3. Farrell, Houston, Tx


    February 18, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  4. Sam

    Yeah – what about the NY Post cartoon today? Its a heck of lot more important than "Chicago" politics.

    February 18, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |

    He stinks like a dead fish...

    February 18, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  6. Dave Nielsen

    The fact that he lied is the problem; not that he did or did not do any fund raising for the ex Gov.

    Liars should not be in the senate and they should not lie to law makers under oath.

    February 18, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  7. Perusing-Through

    Time to go Burris. Even if you are innocent, you sound pathetic. So sad, so sad.

    February 18, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  8. albo58

    I wonder if the Senate ethics investigation will be as timely and thorough as the House's ethics investigation of Charlie Rangel? Face it, perjury means little to nothing to the Democrat Party...just ask Bill Clinton!

    February 18, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  9. reggie

    This will go down as one of the shortest senate terms ever. I predict Burris will be gone with 2 weeks.

    February 18, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  10. John

    Well, maybe Obama can stimulate the economy by hiring the American to take out the trash on Capitol Hill!

    February 18, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  11. andrew

    he looks like a total goof. not what we want our senators to look like and convey. he is a total loser and has never won a big race/election in his life. he makes other viable black candidates look bad while he parades himself as a trailblazer he is completely inept and should just go away

    February 18, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  12. tl

    Can the Senate stop Bloomberg and the MTA from increasing fares ??

    February 18, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  13. texasgreenacres

    Not saying i told you so. but I smelled the rat when he was so anxious to be appointed by the ex-Gov. He was lying then and still at it, He's dirty get rid of him!

    February 18, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  14. JJack Jodell

    Throw Burris out-just another self-serving, untrustworthy politician.

    February 18, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  15. Chris in Va.

    Mike Syracuse NY, perhaps you should stick to taking pictures, you are incapable of indepedent thought.

    February 18, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  16. PL

    Probable scenario:
    Blago tested others for pay to play, no takers.
    Burro said he would try, so he got the appointment. (He admitted he attempted to raise funds for Blago) Blago was running out of time too.
    Burro did not tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth under oath. If he did, the appoinntment would come under a cloud, he may even lose it due to legality.
    He came forward to amend his testimony after his seat was affirmed, and was worried that his conversations with the Blago team were recorded and would come out in the open.
    We will know soon.

    February 18, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  17. Chris in Va.

    I must apologize to his Pension is secure, I should have said ALL Repugs are blithering idiots.

    February 18, 2009 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  18. Dobo

    CNN is the Greatest !

    February 18, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  19. Gary

    We are all cowards as per our newly appointed crooked attorney General, We are a nation of cowards and then we have crooks like Burris, Blago, Barack, Reid, Pelosi and alike. Democratic party is full of them and surprisingly all Americans and the media is keeping silent about it. There is no news abou the meeting of Nanci pelosi with Pope. Nobody spoke about the lecture she got from the Pope. Media is keeping silent about it.

    February 18, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
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