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Now, Illinois Sen. Roland Burris is in the crosshairs

CHICAGO — Just as Illinois was moving past the agony and embarrassment of ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the fellow Democrat whom Blagojevich appointed to the U.S. Senate was hearing calls for his own resignation Sunday amid allegations he lied to legislators.

Freshman Sen. Roland Burris released an affidavit Saturday that acknowledges his contacts with five Blagojevich allies and contradicts his statements last month to a House committee investigating Blagojevich's impeachment.

"I can't believe anything that comes out of Mr. Burris at this point," Rep. Jim Durkin, the impeachment committee's ranking Republican, said Sunday. "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."

An adamant and sometimes emotional Burris said in Chicago later Sunday that he hadn't done anything wrong and never misled anyone. "I've always conducted myself with honor and integrity. At no time did I ever make any inconsistent statement."

Gov. Pat Quinn, who advanced to the Governor's Mansion after Blagojevich was ousted over corruption allegations last month, also called on Burris to explain the contradiction.

Durkin and House Republican Leader Tom Cross also want an investigation of Burris for possible perjury.

Saturday's disclosure by Burris reflects a major omission from his testimony in January, when an Illinois House impeachment committee specifically asked if he had ever spoken to Blagojevich or his aides about the seat vacated by President Obama.

Burris was pressed Sunday about why he didn't tell lawmakers about his contact with the allies, including the governor's brother, Robert Blagojevich, when he was testifying under oath. At that time, he only mentioned his conversation with former Blagojevich chief of staff Lon Monk.

Burris said the nature of the hearing did not provide him an opportunity to fully answer.

Burris said Saturday he told Robert Blagojevich he would not raise money for the governor because it would look like he was trying to win favor for his appointment. But he said he did ask the governor's brother "what was going on with the selection of a successor" to Obama and "he said he had heard my name mentioned in the discussions."

Sunday, Burris added: "I did not donate one single dollar nor did I raise any money or promise favors of any kind to the governor."

Now, Illinois Sen. Roland Burris is in the crosshairs 02/15/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 4:48pm]
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