WASHINGTON–Embattled Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) is cancelling his Thursday schedule, where he was to have met with Rockford area civic, elected and religious leaders as Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) sent out a very frosty statement, saying Burris failed to disclose under oath the nature of his relationship with former Gov. Blagojevich.
Durbin is traveling in Athens on Wednesday; in the evening his office issued this statement: “When we met with Roland Burris in January, we made it clear that in order for him to be seated in the U.S. Senate he needed to meet two requirements – first, that he submit the proper paperwork certifying his appointment, and second, that he appear before the General Assembly’s Impeachment Committee to testify openly, honestly and completely about the nature of his relationship with the former governor, his associates and the circumstances surrounding this appointment.”
“We asked him to testify in the impeachment proceedings, not to embarrass Roland Burris, but to give him an opportunity to clear the air regarding this appointment from a tainted governor. Our hope was that he would use that opportunity to assure the people of Illinois and the other members of the United States Senate that he was not involved in any wrongdoing.”
“Now the accuracy and completeness of his testimony and affidavits have been called into serious question. Every day there are more and more revelations about contacts with Blagojevich advisors, efforts at fundraising and omissions from his list of lobbying clients. This was not the full disclosure under oath that we asked for.”
I must admit: when they finally got around to seating Burris, I was a little sad. Former Gov. Blagojevich’s act of political revenge against the party that first encouraged, then abandoned him was easily one of the most comprehensive that I had ever witnessed; but once the Senate Democrats broke their signed promise to seat him, I assumed that the game was over. Nonetheless, I bore up well under the disappointment that such a fine diversion had ended, as after all we had all of this lovely pre-generated oppo research to work with in 2010.
I shouldn’t have anticipated the ending like that, because now we find ourselves in Act III of the Matter of Illinois, and the vultures circle for Roland Burris. As John Kass notes, Burris’ appointment is causing increasing embarrassment to both Illinois Democrats and the current President of the United States. In fact, Kass is willing to be blunt:
Obama could have demanded a special election to fill his own vacated Senate seat, the one that Blagojevich allegedly tried to sell to the highest bidder. Obama also pressured Senate leaders to seat Burris, in the hopes of ending the fiasco before his inauguration.
Now Madigan is demanding an investigation of possible perjury and has sent the documents to a Springfield prosecutor.
Yet the deed has been done. Obama’s porkulus was passed. Obama got Burris’ vote, and Madigan has an excuse to attack Burris because he doesn’t want Burris leading the 2010 Illinois Democratic ticket when Madigan’s daughter runs for governor.
And Burris takes the fall. Here is the lesson that you must take from this: if you are doing any business with the Democratic Party – any at all, from bottom to top – make sure that they have a very good practical reason not to drain you like a can of soda and throw you out the window. Because Senator Burris is currently being used in precisely that fashion, and nobody involved particularly cares what happens to him. Sure, he was greedy for the respect and the status, so shed no tears for the man; but if you think that being virtuous is protection in your case…