Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Burris Backtracks, "Ethics" Committee Investigates

Evidently, being appointed by Blagojevich, now the national poster-boy of Illinois corruption, wasn't enough for some folks to "raise serious questions" about the appointment of Roland Burris. Chris Cillizza (The Fix):

"Burris today said he had tried to raise money for the embattled Blagojevich in the run-up to his appointment by the governor to the Senate seat vacated by President Obama -- the latest in a series of revelations that raised serious questions about whether he had been entirely truthful in his sworn testimony before an Illinois state House committee weighing whether to impeach Blagojevich for allegations that he sought to sell the Senate seat."
Of course Burris initially (and indignantly) denied any wrongdoing, but the story began to change as it became clear that there may have been some listeners-in. According to Chicago Tribune reporters Ray Long, John Chase and Monique Garcia, here's the latest evolution of the Burris narrative:
But in comments Monday night, Burris for the first time admitted he was asking about the Senate seat while also trying to raise money for Blagojevich at the request of the governor's brother and campaign chief, Robert.

"So some time shortly after Obama was elected, the brother called," Burris said, in comments first reported Tuesday on "And now in the meantime, I'd talked to some people about trying to see if we could put a fundraiser on. Nobody was—they said we aren't giving money to the governor. And I said, 'OK, you know, I can't tell them what to do with their money.'

"So when the [governor's] brother called me back, I said, 'Well, look Rob ... I can't raise any money from my friends. I said, maybe my partner and I, you can talk this over and see, could we go to some other people that we might be able to talk to that would help us out if we give—because we give a fundraiser in the law office, nobody going to show up. We'll probably have a thousand dollars for you or something to that effect.' "
Want to bet that "thousand dollars" is a slight underestimate? Raise your hand if you'd be surprised.


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