Shocking! Roland Burris Lied About Blago Offers
In a revelation that is shocking to, well, nobody, Roland Burris apparently lied to the Illinois House when he claimed that Rod Blagojevich or his aides never approached him for favors in return for a Senate appointment. He now admits that Blago’s brother asked him three times for help with fundraising (for a legal defense fund?).
Burris insists that he refused to offer any fundraising help because it would be “inappropriate.” More likely, Burris had nothing to offer Blago – no fundraising apparatus to speak of – which is why he said “no.” Note that these conversations occurred before the Blago arrest when Burris – sad opportunist he is – expressed interest in the seat.
The real story, of course, is that he omitted this information in his original testimony to the Illinois House – testimony that was integral to the Harry Reid accepting Burris’s credentials. Who knows if it would have made a difference at the time if Burris had told the committee that he was approached in the past for favors and had refused. Either way, he left out a very important detail and gave the impression that he had no idea Blago was up to no good when looking for a Senate appointee.
The Illinois House GOP now wants to launch an investigation of Burris, as they should. I’m not sure if this counts as perjury in the strict sense. But it definitely counts as misleading the public.
None of this is particularly shocking. How could the one man who accepted Blago’s Senate be free from taint? Burris was obviously a vain fool. That he was a liar too was not surprising.
The only silver lining here for Illinois Democrats is that it makes it virtually certain that Illinois Democrats will not back Burris in 2010. Considering the heavy blue tilt of the state, any candidate not named Burris will almost certainly win there in 2010. Apropos of that, now-Governor Pat Quinn is actually one of the more popular people in the state. Call it the Jodi Rell effect – the Lt. Governor from Connecticut who replaced a convicted boss got a halo of support. Considering Quinn’s popularity, an appointee of his would probably also be popular if Burris were to be forced to resign.
But the Blago saga is apparently not done yet.