Illinois continues to have a place in the national spotlight … for all of the wrong reasons.
When U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin first spoke out on the search for Barack Obama’s successor in the U.S. Senate, he said that Gov. Rod Blagojevich should not be allowed to make the appointment. Anyone appointed by Blagojevich, Durbin said, would be “tainted.”
Durbin eventually relented, supporting Blagojevich’s appointment of Roland Burris, and oh, what a fortune-teller Durbin has turned out to be.
When Burris appeared before a state impeachment committee in early January, he recalled speaking to a Blagojevich adviser and a friend of the governor’s once about being appointed to the Senate seat.
Asked at least three times whether he had spoken with Blagojevich’s brother, people on his staff or other relatives, Burris did not remember doing so.
Then, just a few days ago, Burris submitted an affadavit in which he states that, oh, by the way, I DID talk to Blagojevich’s brother three times. But Burris said that he did not offer any campaign money to Blagojevich for the seat. And he states in that affadavit that he “didn’t have the opportunity” to provide full disclosure during the committee hearing.
Then, this Monday night, Burris tells some reporters that, oh, by the way, I did tell Blagojevich’s brother that I would try to organize a fundraiser for the governor. And, basically, he said, the only reason he did not participate in a “pay-to-play” scheme was because he failed to get any support for Blagojevich.
It appears that now that Burris is entrenched in a U.S. Senate seat, his memory is getting better every day. Yet, he still contends, “I did nothing wrong.”
He says that he welcomes any investigation into his dealings with the impeached governor, his family and his staff. Does that sound familiar? Blagojevich was saying the same kinds of things just the day before he was arrested by federal agents at his Chicago home.
And, like Blagojevich, Burris is ignoring those legislators and citizens who are calling for him to resign. Media coverage and blogs also indicate that many Illinois residents are holding Durbin accountable for the sad state of affairs in Illinois government.
At this point, all discussions are on whether Burris forgot, simply left out some information or downright lied when he testified before the impeachment committee.
Regardless, with the cloud now lingering over his appointment, it’s time for Burris to step down. If he refuses to do so, our legislators or the courts need to find a way to remove him from office.
With his failing or selective memory and his background with Blagojevich, Burris is not the type of representative that we want or need in Washington.