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Senate Committee Gets Recordings of Burris-Blagojevich Talks

By Perry Bacon Jr.
A federal judge in Chicago said today that the Senate ethics committee can review secretly recorded conversations between Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) and the brother of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich (D), who was removed from office earlier this year amid a corruption investigation.

District Court Judge James F. Holderman ruled that federal prosecutors could release recorded conversations between Burris and businessman Robert Blagojevich, who headed the Friends of Rod Blagojevich campaign fund. The recordings are believed to involve conservations about fundraising. Prosecutors are pursuing a case against Rod Blagojevich that has not yet gone to trial.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the chairman of the Senate ethics committee, declined comment on the judge's decision, citing a committee policy against speaking about ongoing investigations. The committee is looking into the circumstances surrounding Burris's appointment to the Senate seat vacated by President Obama.

Federal prosecutors have accused Rod Blagojevich of demanding fundraising help for people who sought the Senate seat.

Burris's statements about his interactions with Blagojevich and his surrogates have been inconsistent. Earlier this year, as senators were considering whether to seat Burris, before a panel of Illinois lawmakers considering the governor's impeachment, Burris did not disclose his conversations with Blagojevich's brother.

He later revealed those conversations in written testimony, leading some critics to accuse Burris of misleading the lawmakers. Days later, he told reporters that he tried to raise money for Blagojevich, at Robert Blagojevich's request, at the same time as he was seeking appointment to the Senate.

The ethics committee opened its preliminary investigation of Burris shortly thereafter.

By Post Editor  |  May 26, 2009; 4:17 PM ET
Categories:  Blagojevich  
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Comments

Who believes anything at all will happen to kindly ol' Mr. Burris? This "ethics investigation" is a gigantic waste of time. Maybe someone will utter a word or two of disapproval of this or that; it will have all the gravitas and import of a UN resolution.

I'm so sick of these set pieces where anyone with half a brain knows politics means more than anything in the 60-40 Senate. Senators on their high and mighty ethics horses are a huge joke.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | May 26, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

This guy was caught red handed on a
tape recorded phone call by the FBI.
If he gets off, it'll be because the
US Senate is corrupt, not because he
was innocent. But hey, what's new?

Posted by: iamredwolf | May 26, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

It will be a great surprise if this guy is helod accountable for any lies he may have commited. Nah, not with Ried being the speaker. Ried has raisins for, well..you know.

Posted by: sandnsmith | May 26, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

i want to hear all the recordings of begging going on in the Senate Cloakroom between the Senators and the pages.

Posted by: californicationdude | May 26, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

The Dems are lucky Sotomayor is taking this story off the front page. The hacks at WaPo couldn't be happier.

Posted by: conservativemaverick | May 26, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

"Federal prosecutors have accused Rod Blagojevich of demanding fundraising help for people who sought the Senate seat."

That should be help FROM people...

Posted by: dotellen | May 27, 2009 1:34 AM | Report abuse

This mis an inane folly for Democrats.
Napolitano's appointment was for drawing Barry Soreto's sled as part of the Mush team.

So were the Clinton and Sebelius appointments.

Blago has some goods that Barry Soreto wants impeached with a moral terpitude discredit on.

When Blago spills the beans on the Obama, Americans will believe Blago inspite of any findings by thought police and a Kangaroo court.

Posted by: dottydo | May 27, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"Ried has raisins for, well..you know."

What are you talking about?

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Is this a new concept, or do we just continue this Pavlovian attitude. We continue to be outraged, then shrug our shoulders, and ask "what can we do."
And then it all happens again tomorrow.

Posted by: lilmsnoitall | May 29, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

chicago thug politics are all the rage,just look at the white house.

Posted by: silusdogood | May 31, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

burris is black or havent you noticed? i am no racist,but i have enough sense to know when politicians are trying to pump sand up our tails. look at the black panthers eric holder,and obambi turned loose,anyone else but acorn members,union members or minoritys would be a long time in prison.

Posted by: silusdogood | June 1, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

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