By Chris Fusco
Chicago Sun-Times Staff Reporter
Firing the first shot in Washington in the fight over Roland Burris' appointment as Illinois' next U.S. senator, Gov. Blagojevich's acting chief of staff hand-delivered Burris' nomination paper to the U.S. Capitol this morning only to see it rejected by the secretary of the senate.
Clayton Harris, the chief of staff, delivered the nomination paper around 8 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero said. The secretary of the senate and two assistants acknowledged receipt of the document "but did not formally accept it" because it did not bear Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White's signature, Guerrero said.
White last week refused to sign Blagojevich's nomination of Burris to the senate, joining the chorus of many in politics who say Blagojevich is not fit to fill Illinois' vacant U.S. Senate seat because of his Dec. 9 arrest on corruption charges. The governor and Burris are hoping the Illinois Supreme Court will force White to sign the document.
Burris is expected to leave for Washington this afternoon. Senate Democrats have vowed to try to stop him from filling President-elect Barack Obama's vacant seat.