Surprise! Tapes show Burris offering to give Blago money for senate seat

Rick Moran
Illinois Senator Roland Burris gave sworn testimony before the Illinois House impeachment hearings for Governor Blagojevich in January that he had no contact with Blago's office or people for several weeks prior to the ex-governor's arrest on charges he tried to sell the senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.

Based on that testimony, the senate accepted his appointment by Governor Pat Quinn. But then in Febuary, probably tipped by the prosecutor's office that several of his conversations had been caught on tape, he "amended" his testimony to include the fact that he had several conversation with the governor's brother, Rob Blagojevich, about the senate seat and that fundraising for the governor was discussed.

Now the tapes are out of those conversations and it looks very, very bad for Roland Burris. The senator offered to give a personal donation to Blagojevich's re-election camapaign and promised further monies to Blago's coffers - all in return for the senate seat.

Burris' attorney claims no monies changed hands, which is true. But the reason wasn't because Burris believed such a donation would be wrong but rather because it would "look bad."

Here's part of the transcript as published in the Chicago Tribune:

A transcript of a secretly recorded phone call between the brother of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and U.S. Sen. Roland Burris was released in federal court today, a call in which Burris, then seeking the Senate seat, was recorded offering the Blagojevich campaign a campaign check. "I know I could give him a check," Burris said. "Myself."

But in the same call, Burris tells Robert Blagojevich he is concerned he and Rod Blagojevich will "catch hell."

"And if I do get appointed that means I bought it," Burris said.

"And, and God knows number one, I, I wanna help Rod," Burris says later in the call. "Number two, I also wanna, you know, hope I get a consideration to get that appointment."

Burris was recorded saying the timing would be crucial to how the fundraising would be perceived.

"And however that goes, ah, it would dictate, ah, you know how the press treats it," he said.

"Understand," Rob Blagojevich answered.

"'Cause man, I, I will be, you know we both would be profiled," Burris continued. "And we don't need that."

[...]

Burris did not specifically mention offering Blagojevich a check in affidavits he filed in Springfield in connection with hearings on Blagojevich's impeachment. On a "good will" tour around the state in February, Burris addressed a conversation he had with Blagojevich's brother, Robert, during the fall timeframe.

He lied through his teeth about that conversation as well.

There is already a perjury investigation going on at the state level. And now the Senate Ethics Committee will get in on the act. No doubt, they will act with great haste and vote to expel the crook. Or, they will issue the dreaded "strongly worded rebuke" and give Burris a wink and a nod, allowing him to serve out his term.

One wonders what Burris will have to do, what crimes he must commit before his Democratic colleagues screw up the courage to kick him out into the street where he belongs. Alas, with so many Democrats already facing ethics challenges, Burris will simply get lost in the shuffle and the most ethically challenged Congress in history will continue to embarrass us.












Illinois Senator Roland Burris gave sworn testimony before the Illinois House impeachment hearings for Governor Blagojevich in January that he had no contact with Blago's office or people for several weeks prior to the ex-governor's arrest on charges he tried to sell the senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.

Based on that testimony, the senate accepted his appointment by Governor Pat Quinn. But then in Febuary, probably tipped by the prosecutor's office that several of his conversations had been caught on tape, he "amended" his testimony to include the fact that he had several conversation with the governor's brother, Rob Blagojevich, about the senate seat and that fundraising for the governor was discussed.

Now the tapes are out of those conversations and it looks very, very bad for Roland Burris. The senator offered to give a personal donation to Blagojevich's re-election camapaign and promised further monies to Blago's coffers - all in return for the senate seat.

Burris' attorney claims no monies changed hands, which is true. But the reason wasn't because Burris believed such a donation would be wrong but rather because it would "look bad."

Here's part of the transcript as published in the Chicago Tribune:

A transcript of a secretly recorded phone call between the brother of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and U.S. Sen. Roland Burris was released in federal court today, a call in which Burris, then seeking the Senate seat, was recorded offering the Blagojevich campaign a campaign check. "I know I could give him a check," Burris said. "Myself."

But in the same call, Burris tells Robert Blagojevich he is concerned he and Rod Blagojevich will "catch hell."

"And if I do get appointed that means I bought it," Burris said.

"And, and God knows number one, I, I wanna help Rod," Burris says later in the call. "Number two, I also wanna, you know, hope I get a consideration to get that appointment."

Burris was recorded saying the timing would be crucial to how the fundraising would be perceived.

"And however that goes, ah, it would dictate, ah, you know how the press treats it," he said.

"Understand," Rob Blagojevich answered.

"'Cause man, I, I will be, you know we both would be profiled," Burris continued. "And we don't need that."

[...]

Burris did not specifically mention offering Blagojevich a check in affidavits he filed in Springfield in connection with hearings on Blagojevich's impeachment. On a "good will" tour around the state in February, Burris addressed a conversation he had with Blagojevich's brother, Robert, during the fall timeframe.

He lied through his teeth about that conversation as well.

There is already a perjury investigation going on at the state level. And now the Senate Ethics Committee will get in on the act. No doubt, they will act with great haste and vote to expel the crook. Or, they will issue the dreaded "strongly worded rebuke" and give Burris a wink and a nod, allowing him to serve out his term.

One wonders what Burris will have to do, what crimes he must commit before his Democratic colleagues screw up the courage to kick him out into the street where he belongs. Alas, with so many Democrats already facing ethics challenges, Burris will simply get lost in the shuffle and the most ethically challenged Congress in history will continue to embarrass us.