After only a month in office, Roland Burris is now in the national spotlight, once again. And guess what? It has to do with allegations of perjury. The "honorable Senator" from the Land of Lincoln, has of course denied any wrong doing.
Story goes, Burris was approached by the brother of Rod Blagojevich, prior to his appointment to the Senate, and asked if he would raise campaign contributions for the now impeached Governor. This was during the time that Blago was considering whom to seat in Obama's vacant Senate seat.
After testifying at the Illinois House impeachment panel in January, Burris articulated that he only had only spoken with Lon Monk, Blagojevich's former chief of staff. There was no mention of Rob Blagojevich, the former Governor's brother, nor any mention of Burris being asked, at least five times, to assist in fundraising efforts.
However, Burris's office released an affidavit on February 4th, recounting the the episode with Rob Blagojevich. This revelation, subsequently comes after his testimony to the impeachment panel and his seating in the Senate.
Now the Illinois GOP is calling for Burris's resignation and want an investigation into perjury allegations because of his potential lies of omission. State Rep. Jim Durkin had this to say,
CBS-"I can't believe anything that comes out of Mr. Burris at this point," state Rep. Jim Durkin said. "I think it would be in the best interest of the state if he resigned because I don't think the state can stand this anymore."
Burris vigorously defended himself at a press conference on Sunday and denied any impropriety.
WSJ-"I've always conducted myself with honor and integrity," Mr. Burris said. "At no time did I ever make any inconsistent statement."
Senate Democrats had initially opposed Burris's appointment, but under pressure from the African American community and a promise that Burris would testify against Blago, threw their support to him. This supposedly "cleared the air" that he was not involved in any quid-quo-pro with Blagojevich.
Presently, Democratic operatives are sharpening their claws to go after Burris during the party primaries in 2010..
The Politico-"We already knew bad stuff was going to come out and that he’s a very weak candidate,” said one Illinois Democratic operative, asking for anonymity to speak candidly. “But I guess it’s good that it’s coming out earlier and making him an easier target to take out in the primary.”
Governor Pat Quinn released a statement on Sunday,
WSJ-"Senator Burris and his lawyer should disclose everything that needs to be disclosed. The more sunlight, the better."
The garbage dump that is Illinois politics is still a garbage dump, no matter how much sunlight you shine on it.
Photo credit to CBS News