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Democracy 21 asks for prompt Senate ethics panel public hearing on Burris

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Democracy 21 Press Release, February 24, 2009, www.democracy21.org
_________________________________________________________________

Democracy 21 Calls on Senate Ethics Committee to Hold Prompt
Public Hearing to Question Senator Roland Burris about
Contradictory and Conflicting Statements

In a letter sent today to Senate Ethics Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer and Vice Chairman Johnny Isakson, Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer called on the Ethics Committee "to promptly hold a public hearing in which Senator Roland Burris (D-IL) is called to testify on his contradictory and conflicting statements, made under oath, regarding the circumstances surrounding his appointment to the Senate."

According to the letter:

The public hearing should explore whether the contradictions and conflicts in Senator Burris's testimony under oath, his sworn affidavits and his other public statements can be reconciled, or whether Senator Burris misled the Illinois state legislature, the people of Illinois and the United States Senate in an effort to gain appointment to the Senate.

The letter notes that published reports indicate the Ethics Committee has opened a preliminary inquiry into the Burris matter and states:

The Ethics Committee's rules provide that the Committee "may hold a public or executive hearing in any preliminary inquiry, adjudicatory review or other proceedings."

Senate Ethics Committee Rule 5(a). Thus, the Ethics Committee has explicit authority to hold an immediate public hearing on the Burris matter during its current preliminary inquiry stage.

The letter further states:

There is no need for the Committee to wait for an investigation of all the circumstances involved in the Burris matter prior to conducting a public examination of the veracity of the affidavits provided and statements made by Senator Burris. In fact, the public interest in learning what happened here and the institutional integrity of the Senate call for a prompt public examination of these matters.

The letter points out that Senator Burris has provided three sworn statements, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune (February 19):

A Jan. 5 affidavit in which he says he had no contact with [Governor] Blagojevich aides "regarding my appointment to the United States Senate."

His Jan. 8 testimony to the House panel, in which he acknowledges only one conversation with a former Blagojevich aide, but not any talks of fundraising.

A Feb. 4 affidavit, signed after his appointment, in which he acknowledges contacts with five other Blagojevich insiders about the seat. He also said he refused a fundraising request because it would be a conflict of interest.

Later Burris publicly acknowledged trying unsuccessfully to raise campaign funds for the governor.

The letter further states:

To put it simply, the Senate and the public are entitled to an explanation now from Senator Burris, under oath, of his contradictory, conflicting and confusing statements regarding the Senator's contacts and conversations with former Governor Blagojevich and his associates, and his fundraising activities for Blagojevich.

The Senate needs to address the public's sense that the integrity of the Senate as an institution has been seriously compromised by the multiple contradictory statements made by Senator Burris about the circumstances surrounding his appointment to the Senate by former Governor Blagojevich.

The letter concludes:

We urge the Committee to expeditiously hold a public hearing in which Senator Burris testifies under oath about his contradictory and conflicting statements and, based on its findings, to recommend whatever actions may be appropriate for the Senate to take.

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7 Comments

Terrific! I'm glad that there are those who refuse to let this matter go. Burris should be required to testify as to what really happened that has caused him to be inconsistent, having presented 3 different explanations, over 3 independent days, when answering 1 simple question.

I AM A VERY CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL THINKER WITHOUT REAL GUTSEY LEADERSHIP TODAY!
MY COMMENTS TO MR BURRIS IS THIS!
TAKE NO OFFENCE!....IF YOU RESIGN, YOU WILL BE RAPPED WITH A PAY-OFF DEAL, OR WORSE YET...YOU WILL BE PEGGED AS AN "UNCLE-TOM " EGAD WHAT A FUTURE BEHOLDS YOU! TALK TO YOUR ENEMY IN THE SUPREME COURT,..WHAT'S HIS NAME? CLARENCE? REMEMBER?..A DAMNED REPUBLICAN " AN UNCLE-TOM"? YOUR PARTY CALLED HIM THAT AND MORE...YOU ARE NOW IN VERY GOOD COMPANY.
RESPECTFULLY ( IF YOU DON'T YIELD )
BOB BURNS SR @ -77- YEARS OF WISDOM!
MAKE THE BASTARDS PAY!

Roland Burris, R-IL.

The Republican Party could not have asked for a better senator :)

Mr. Burris needs to resign. Mr. Burris prides himself on a life of public service and honesty yet he took the low road to get a senate seat even though it was obvious it would be tainted by being appointed by a governor who was impeached and facing charges of 'selling the seat' to the highest bidder. If Mr. Burris was such a great candidate then he should have been elected by the citizens of Illinois when he did run. However it was not elected. He is a man with an incredible ego and is only considering himself and not one else.
If I misrepresented the truth as Mr. Burris did I am sure I would not have any second chances.

Mr. Burris must not taint the hallowed halls of the US Capitol any longer.

Senators should encourage their colleague Senator Roland Burris of Illinois to resign. He has clearly lied to the American people, using clever legal technicalities (and convenient errors of omission) relative to his inappropriate appointment.

Even discussions about potential purchasing of a Senate seat dishonors the Senate and his colleagues and reinforces the image most citizens have about those in Washington. If he does not resign the Senate investigation must proceed immediately since he refuses to be an honorable man of character and good grace that he pretends to be.

Roland Burris ran for election 3 times for various posts in Illinois and was soundly defeated each time.... Clearly, the man didn't have one iota of a chance of being elected Senator so he took the low road and sneakily worked all angles since last summer through the moment IL Governor Blagoevitch was indicted to try to enter the Seanate through the back door. He lied under oath 3 times about how he came to be appointed Senator by our disgraced Governor. He does not represent IL but his own interests and he should do what is honorable and resign.

It is purported that Burris has a big ego and is a very stubborn man at 71 even going so far as having a tombstone erected at his future resting place with all of his accomplishments carved into it...thus earning him the name "Tombstone" by various Chicago newspapers.

He is a laughingstock in Illinois politics and now on the world stage.

This is such small stuff.
It really is.
Where was the outrage by "Democracy 21" about:
starting a war for oil based on a lie?
Taking down the WTC to fuel fear to do the above?
Not investigating that properly.
Watch Loose Change-Really. Watch it.
There is NO REASON to go into Afghanistan.
And we're supposed to focus on this soap opera?

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on February 24, 2009 6:07 PM.

Audio, video of Durbin press conference on Burris. was the previous entry in this blog.

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