You know when Democrats turn against Democrats in public, it has to be pretty bad. Newly confirmed Sen. Roland Burris has found himself in this type of situation, and continues daily to dig the hole he’s fallen into deeper and deeper. If he keeps on digging, he will soon find himself side by side in that hole with former Gov. Blagojevich himself.
After having testified in Senate hearings that he was completely innocent of any backroom dealings with Blago, his brother, or any other member of the Blagojevich team, he has since recalled bits and pieces of the truth. Enough so, that even Illinois Democrats are calling for his resignation.
This report from Bloomberg this morning:
In an impromptu meeting with reporters after a political dinner in Peoria last night, Burris, a Democrat, said he tried to raise money for Blagojevich sometime between conversations with the former governor’s brother before and after the Nov. 4 U.S. presidential election, the Chicago Tribune reported yesterday.
Burris said that, while he was unsuccessful in organizing a fundraiser for the governor, he and his partner in the Chicago- based consulting firm Burris & Lebed, might be able to raise $1,000 from other sources, according to the newspaper’s report.
Illinois Representative Jim Durkin of Western Springs, the ranking Republican on the House impeachment committee, said at a Feb. 15 press conference, “Mr. Burris had every opportunity in the world to fully describe his relationship with the governor.”
Durkin and fellow Republican Representative Tom Cross of Oswego said Burris’s most-recent filing contradicted the earlier affidavit and the answers he gave Durkin during his testimony.
“If you have that much of a memory problem, then maybe you shouldn’t be in the United States Senate,” Cross said.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said in a statement, “The evidence suggests Senator Burris lied under oath when he failed to disclose these contacts earlier.”
Burris should be expelled if he is found to have lied to Senate leaders, Sloan said.
Bill Brandt, principal of the Chicago-based restructuring firm Development Specialists Inc. and a Democratic fundraiser, called Burris’s situation “untenable” and said he should resign.
“It’s not sufficient for a U.S. senator to be above suspicion,” Brandt said. “A U.S. senator has to be above the perception of ever being under suspicion.”
Brandt, 59, has raised money for candidates including then U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton, now U.S. secretary of state, when she ran against Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. He also raised funds for Mike Quigley, the Cook County Board of Commissioners member running in a special election to fill the Congressional seat vacated by Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.
“I like Roland Burris, but I think the only dignified thing for him to do is end the circus and resign,” Brandt said.
CNN reported this morning on the issue as well, and quoted some interesting statements on an editorial that was written by the Chicago Tribune last night:
In an editorial posted on its Web site Tuesday night, the Chicago Tribune said that with Burris’ explanations of his dealings with Blagojevich, “the benefit of the doubt had already been stretched thin” and that, with his most recent comments, “(i)t finally snapped like a rubber band, popping him on that long Pinocchio nose of his.”
“There is only one honorable action for Burris: resign,” the paper wrote. “Strip this whole wretched process out of the hands of the politicians and give it back to the people.”
So, another Chicago Politician is on the chopping block for unethical and possibly illegal actions. As if Blago didn’t give Illinois enough of a black eye on his own, more of Chicago’s elite keeping falling into the black abyss alongside of him.
Sound off: Are these Chicago politicians the exception – or the rule?