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Inside the Rod Blagojevich investigation and related cases

Here's what Burris said. Was he forthcoming?

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Here's how the question and answer session went when U.S. Sen. Roland Burris testified under oath before a House impeachment panel on Jan. 8.
Burris changed his answer Feb. 5 in a quietly filed affidavit. In a statement to us, Burris said he wasn't given the opportunity to fully answer the question before the House panel -- so he amended it Feb. 5.
But a look at the transcript shows questioning specifically asked Burris whether he spoke to certain people in Blagojevich's inner circle. Burris was asked if he spoke with John Wyma, Robert Blagojevich, Lon Monk or Doug Scofield. Burris takes a moment to confer with his lawyer, Timothy Wright. He then mentions Monk. Conversations about fund-raising don't come up. In his new affidavit, they do. And he says he told all the people above about his interest in the Senate seat.

REPRESENTATIVE DURKIN: Did you talk to any
members of the Governor's staff or anyone closely
related to the Governor, including family members or
any lobbyists connected with him, including let me
throw out some names, John Harris, Rob Blagojevich,
Doug Scofield, Bob Greenleaf, Lon Monk, John Wyma, did
you talk to anybody who was associated with the
Governor about your desire to seek the appointment
prior to the Governor's arrest?
MR. WRIGHT: Give us a moment.
MR. BURRIS: I talked to some friends about
my desire to be appointed, yes.
REPRESENTATIVE DURKIN: I guess the point is
I was trying to ask, did you speak to anybody who was
on the Governor's staff prior to the Governor's arrest
or anybody, any of those individuals or anybody who is closely related to the Governor?
MR. BURRIS: I recall having a meeting with
Lon Monk about my partner and I trying to get
continued business, and I did bring it up, it must
have been in September or maybe it was in July of '08
that, you know, you're close to the Governor, let him
know that I am certainly interested in the seat.
REPRESENTATIVE DURKIN: Okay. Did you speak
to any individuals who -- any individuals who were
also seeking the appointment of the United States
Senate seat, otherwise people we've referred to as
Senate candidates one through five?
MR. BURRIS: No, I did not.
REPRESENTATIVE DURKIN: Okay. At any time
were you directly or indirectly aware of a quid pro
quo with the Governor for the appointment of this
vacant Senate seat?
MR. BURRIS: No, sir.
REPRESENTATIVE DURKIN: Okay. If you were
aware of a quit pro quo, what would you have done?
MR. WRIGHT: Madam Chairman, I think that
calls for a -- that's a hypothetical question that I
don't think that what he would have done, it could
have depended. I don't think that's an appropriate question.
REPRESENTATIVE DURKIN: I disagree. I think
that it is highly relevant. You're speaking to the
committee, but you're also speaking to the state of
Illinois. I think it's important to know what his
response would have been if he was aware of a quid pro
quo with the Governor and also for the appointment.
CHAIRWOMAN CURRIE: Representative Fritchey.
REPRESENTATIVE FRITCHEY: Madam Chairman, if
I may, Mr. Burris had already stated that he was not
aware of any quid pro quo, which answers that question
and puts it to rest. What his response would have
been had there been something, which he stated did not
occur, is clearly irrelevant to this, and according to
Mr. Burris, to speculate on something that would have
happened if another situation had happened which he
clearly says has not.
Representative Durkin, I'm not trying to stifle
you whatsoever, and I understand the generalities
where you're trying to go. But again, I think that
we're outside the realm here of what's germane to this
hearing.
REPRESENTATIVE DURKIN: I think it's germane,
and I think in the conduct of this committee over the past month that we've been given significant leeway to
try to find responses to individuals who are sworn in
before this committee, and I think that it's a
reasonable request to ask what would have been Mr.
Burris's response if he was aware of a quid pro quo
for the United States Senate seat.
REPRESENTATIVE FRITCHEY: But the leeway has
been with response to representatives on behalf of the
Governor and the Governor's administration, not with
respect to third parties who have clearly stated that
they've had no involvement with those actions.
MR. WRIGHT: Representative, Senator Burris
wants to be clear and open, so to the extent you're
asking him to speculate, he'll try to respond to that.
REPRESENTATIVE DURKIN: Thank you.
MR. BURRIS: Representative Durkin, knowing
my ethics, I would not participate in anybody's quid
pro quo. I've been in government for 20 years and
never participated in anybody's quid pro quo.
REPRESENTATIVE DURKIN: I guess the point is
would you have gone to the federal authorities if you
were aware of that?
MR. BURRIS: I have no response to that.

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18 Comments

Let's move beyond Durkin. State Rep Jil Tracy, pressed Burris about this repeatedly.

Tracy asked Burris if Lon Monk — a former top Blagojevich aide and the only contact Burris mentioned — was the "extent" of his contacts.

Burris dodged the question and said that he mentioned his interest in the Senate seat to Monk in passing. "And that was the extent of it," Burris testified.

TRACY: "So you don't recall that there was anybody else besides Lon Monk that you expressed that interest to at that point?"

BURRIS: "No, I can't recall."

Some coming clean!

I get so angry at Republicans who have made an art of casting spurious allegations based on half-truths! Sen Burris was getting grilled by Rep Durkin. When asked generally about his contacts with the Blagovich's associates, Burris answered truthfully that yes he had made his interests known and he specifically named Lon Monk as one of the people with whom he had talked. Burris didn't lie - he mentioned one significant person by name and then the inquisition moved in another direction. Allowed further reflection, Burris filed a written affidavit identifying his other relevant conversations. Even if the FBI made it known that he was on a wiretap, the bottom line is Burris said everything he knew in a timely and appropriate manner. End of story!

It is obvious the Senator designate was less than candid. That said, the question was framed was inartfully that the likelihood of a perjury prosecution is remote.

You have to be able to assign the answer to the question. The questioner failed to adequately clarify what was being asked.

And these guys vote on your future.

I'm a litigating attorney. The question posed to Burris under oath was had he spoken with any representatives of the governor about the job. His answer was that he spoke to "some friends." He doesn't say whose friends. Nor was he ever asked whose friends they were or who such persons were. What an amazingly poor inquiry of him!

He should have been asked: "Well, with whom did you have any conversations regarding the job? Names, please. As to the first conversation in time, with whom was that and specifically what was said by that person to you, and by you to that person?" As to the second . . . ."

Although inartful, the questioning did elicit that he had spoken to "some friends," ***presumably*** his own friends. The governor's brother was neither a friend to him or to the governor. So Burris has testified under oath that he never spoke with the governor's brother. Burris nailed himself for perjury.

Durkin's faulty line of questioning was the cause of any problems in the answers by Burris. One long run on question followed by a yes/no answer is either an incompetently designed question or one intended to confuse and trip up the respondent. Durkin was either incompetent or was playing 'gotcha'.

When Durkin asked:
"Did you talk to any members of the Governor's staff or anyone closely related to the Governor, including family members or
any lobbyists connected with him, including let me throw out some names, John Harris, Rob Blagojevich, Doug Scofield, Bob Greenleaf, Lon Monk, John Wyma, did you talk to anybody who was associated with the Governor about your desire to seek the appointment prior to the Governor's arrest?"

...and Burris answered:
"I talked to some friends about my desire to be appointed, yes.
REPRESENTATIVE DURKIN: I guess the point is I was trying to ask, did you speak to anybody who was on the Governor's staff prior to the Governor's arrest or anybody, any of those individuals or anybody who is closely related to the Governor?
and: "I recall having a meeting with
Lon Monk about my partner and I trying to get
continued business..."

He was either lying, possessed of a clinically failing memory or hopelessly naive in not knowing that incorrect answers to even non-material questions (ask Scooter Libby about this) will come back to haunt you. If any of these is true, this man (good, bad or naive) should not be in the U. S. Senate.

Jeff Esser, are you kidding? No, he didn't "lie" or perjure himself, technically. But, he knew he was there to give the whole truth. He gave a partial truth. He knew the circumstances surrounding the appointment, and the alleged selling of the seat. He knew he was there to clear the air. He worked around it like a lawyer, and only now released more because they realized they are probably on the wire taps. He was not forthright with his answers, and he had every chance to say "Ladies and Gentlemen, I did indeed get asked for a campaign donation by the Governor's brother, but I told him no". He chose not to disclose that until after he was seated. I personally watched the hearings on live feed, I've read the stories around this, and have followed this whole saga fairly closely. I have a very nasty taste in my mouth regarding this.

Chicago politics in Washington. Get ready for more of the same.

"If Obama's true to his platform rhetoric of moving this nation's standard forward, and higher, he should ask Burris to step aside," by Anonymous.

Fat chance. Our President appointed a blatant, knowing, tax cheat to head Treasury, and supported him vociferously after it was publicized what he had done. Only man who can do the job, according to our president. Now, Tim Geithner runs the IRS! Our President appointed a blatant, knowing, tax cheat and healthcare industry lobbyist to head HHS, and insisted that despite the tax issues he supported Tom Daschle for the post. Only man who can do the job, our President insisted. Obama's a product of the same slime that produced the hack/token that is Roland Burris. Why would anyone think he would do the right thing when it comes to the ooze from which Obama sprung?

After watching that press conference today, poor, abused, misunderstood, picked-on Roland has a future as a writer for Saturday Night Live. There was more comedy during that press conference than I've seen on SNL since the days of Belushi, Ackroyd and Murray.

Thank you for this - the facts.
They indeed speak for themselves, as did the original Blago tapes.
Burris betrays himself as a very lawyered-up defendant with something to protect - the whole story.

America is a fascinating television show up here in Canada.

As bad as Republican's wish it to be, this is not perjury. There is not a DA in this country that could get a conviction out of this. The real problem here is that the questioner did not follow up on Burris' answer.

Was Burris totally honest? No. Is this legal perjury, NO WAY.

Does this not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that anyone, or anything that touches Blago is corrupt? I cannot wait for the trial and see WHO ELSE is next on the list to "volunteer their recollection" of meetings with our Ex-Governor. Please have a special election for Senator and let us get someone who WAS NOT involved with Blago. That way the people of Illinois will finally be rid of the taint and smell, until then we are in a soap opera called Chicago politics, and the laughing stock of the USA. So much with the notion that Roland Burris is clean as the wind driven snow huh? The people of Illinois deserve so much better than this.

Senator Burris gave an honest answer to the question posed by Republican Rep Durkin. If Durkin had been less interested in producing a gotcha with his hypothetical follow-up and colloquy with other legislators he might have gotten a more complete answer from Burris (go read the transcript in the Sun times). Burris should be given credit for reading and correcting the transcript by producing an affidavit instead of being castigated for being honest. Why is it so difficult for some folks to give the Senator credit for being honest and producing the affidavit to set the record straight?

Senator Burris openly and honestly answered the question at the IL. House hearing but the Republican legislator was only interested in pursuing a hypothetical follow-up question and trying to produce a gotcha situation. Therefore the hearing veered off on a totally different track (read the transcript) and Burris was cut off after indicating his contact with Len Monk. The Senator should be given credit for reviewing the transcript and voluntarily coming forward and setting the record straight. Producing the affidavit so all facts are known is typical of an honest and decent public servant like Roland Burris.

On a related note. Illinois is considering a motto change from "Land of Lincoln" to "Land That’s Stinkin", "Laugh at Lincoln", Don't Land here Lincoln", Land that's leakin", That'll Cost You a lot of Lincolns", Land a Senate Seat for 10,000 Lincolns" or “Land where Lincoln Spins in His Grave”. See Illinois new license plate at, http://stopthepresses2.blogspot.com/search/label/Blago

Burris knew he was lying even as he was testifying!

But, he also knew he had the only two qualifications that
would allow him to safely skate around the truth:

He is a Negro, and he is a Dimmycrat.

These are the only two reasons he is today a U.S. Senator!

Pathetic...

We have all been dupped.I guess it is going to be what goes for Chicago politics wil go for our nation

REPRESENTATIVE DURKIN: I guess the point is
would you have gone to the federal authorities if you
were aware of that?
MR. BURRIS: I have no response to that

I have thought from the beginning that Burris was a liar.
He has the look of a liar, and this new affidavit just confirms
my s reason for not believing him. He should be kicked out nof the Senate.

REPRESENTATIVE DURKIN: I guess the point is
would you have gone to the federal authorities if you
were aware of that?
MR. BURRIS: I have no response to that


Having no response in a matter such as this is tantamount to a high level of fibbery.

Couple that with his sworn statement (Feb 4, 2009), it is apparent that he was aware, and kept his mouth shut.

Denying the truth should be viewed as lie.

The people of Illinois deserve better than what this man is providing us.

If Obama's true to his platform rhetoric of moving this nation's standard forward, and higher, he should ask Burris to step aside.

Harry Reid should have a good talking to, as well.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on February 14, 2009 1:00 PM.

Blagojevich hit up Burris for cash was the previous entry in this blog.

Here's Burris' new statement is the next entry in this blog.

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