« The Axis Pushing the US into Durban II (updated) |
Blog Home Page
| 'Fairness' for fun and mostly profit »
February 18, 2009
Did Democrats cover up Burris lies to get Stim bill passed?
My friend Tom Elia at the New Editor raised this question in an email and it bears looking into.
The fact is, if this mess with Burris had been made public back on February 5 when the Illinois senator submitted his "corrected" affadavit to the Democratic Majority Leader, there is a pretty good chance that the Illinois senator would not have been able to vote on the stimulus bill in the senate on the 13th.
Why? Because pressure would have been building - as it is now - for the "lying little sneak" to resign his seat. It seems surreal but Roland Burris has now changed his story about contacts with Governor Blagojevich's henchmen about the senate seat at least 4 times - twice yesterday alone. If he had been forced to resign in a similar time period that is shaping up now, there would have been no 60th vote on the stimulus bill in the senate, no cloture, and the bill would have been sent back to conference.
So which Democrats knew of this affadavit and why wasn't it made public immediately? Burris says he sent the affadavit to the chairman of the impeachment committee who then promptly sat on it until the Chicago Sun Times got wind of the story at which point Burris himself gave it to the newspaper. The committee chairman was Barbara Flynn Currie, House Majority Leader.
Barbara Flynn Currie has represented the 25th Congressional district in the Illinois House since 1979. That district includes Hyde Park - former home for many years of President Barack Obama.
So what does Rep. Currie say about the affadavit? Not much:
Currie acknowledged receiving Burris' letter but said she was unfamiliar with its contents. After being read Burris' account of his dealings with Robert Blagojevich, Currie said: "Very odd. I don't know there is anything actionable here, but I would like to check the record.""Unfamiliar with its contents?" And we're expected to believe that the second ranking Democrat in the Illinois House never opened a letter from the junior senator from her state, that there was no cover letter explaining what was inside, and that Burris's lawyer had not contacted Currie's office to see what she was going to do?
The chances that there were other Democrats - local and national - who knew of this "corrected" affadavit and what was in it would seem to be pretty good. What would be your first move as a state party leader if you discovered that your junior senator was basically a liar? Or, even putting the best face on it, was going to be involved in a huge political firestorm as a result of a convenient memory loss?
I would think a call to Illinois' senior senator Dick Durbin might be in order, don't you? Durbin, the #2 Democrat in the senate, just might have mentioned it in passing to Harry Reid, wouldn't you think?
Speculation, yes. And logical? You decide.
The point being, Democrats were willing to sit on this story until the stimulus vote was safely passed. The vote in the senate was Friday the 13th and the Sun Times story appeared the next day. But what if the story had broken on February 6th, the day after Burris says he gave the letter to Currie? The story would have been vying with the stim bill for attention and the calls now emenating from Republican quarters in Illinois for Burris to step down would have been huge news. Who knows what national Republicans would have done? They very well may have demanded Burris recuse himself from voting until the matter was cleared up - a perfectly reasonable request. If that had happened - or if Burris had been pressured to step down as he still may do - there would have been no 60th vote for cloture.
This would seem to be a very powerful incentive for Democrats to cover up Burris's lies, keeping the country, the people of Illinois, and the opposition in the dark about a matter that, if known at the time of his confirmation by the senate, may have resulted in Burris being rejected.
So what to do with Burris? Here's Harry Reid prior to Burris's testimony before the impeachment hearing:
After days in which Senate leaders had demonstrated determined resistance to Burris' appointment to the Senate by scandal-tainted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Reid praised Burris as "candid and forthright." And he suggested the testimony Burris is to give Thursday before the state legislature's impeachment committee could be crucial to his prospects of gaining the seat. "He's going to go answer any other questions they might have. He's not trying to avoid any responsibility and trying to hide anything," said Reid (D-Nev.) "Once that's done, we'll be in a different position and see what we are going to do."If that testimony - now under investigation for perjury - was "crucial to his prospects of gaining the seat" what say you now, Harry Reid? You have a sitting senator, appointed by a sleazy governor, who quite possibly perjured himself at a hearing you yourself deemed "crucial" to a decision on his fitness for office. Does the Democratic party stand for ethics and transparency? Did you know of Burris's problems with the truth and sat on the story until after the stimulus bill was passed?
There are few in Illinois who believe Burris outside of the predictable support he is receiving from the African American community. The Chicago Tribune editorial board blog, Vox Pop, is calling on the senator to resign:
The hole just gets deeper and deeper, and Burris keeps digging. He has no credibility. And many Democrats are losing theirs.Oh that this all would have been happening last week instead of this week. What might have been...
Cross posted from Right Wing Nuthouse.