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Revenge of Blago (Part 3), Starring Roland Burris

UPDATED 1:22 p.m. with "quid pro quo" video

Roland Burris addresses the media in Chicago on Dec. 30, 2008, after being appointed by then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, left, to fill President Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat.
(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

OK, let's see if we can get this straight.

No one wanted Roland Burris in the Senate in the first place. Yet he slyly barged his way in, past Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Illinois's other senator, Dick Durbin, both of whom (along with other Democrats) desperately tried to shutter the doors.

Burris insisted he was clean in the matter of how he came to be appointed by former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. But his story has now taken so many twists and turns, it's hard to know what's true. The only thing that's clear about this story: it's a suspense thriller, not a romantic comedy.

As one well-placed Senate Democratic source tells the Sleuth, "It's like the Revenge of Blago Part III. The plot is unbelievable, but you know full well that things are going to turn out badly in the end. He can't survive much more of this."

Another Senate Democratic official calls the Burris matter "a total goat rodeo." Meaning, a God awful mess.

Burris, who was sworn in 34 days ago, could go down in history as serving the shortest term ever in the Senate, next to Pierre Salinger, whose appointment lasted 148 days. (And not because he was kicked out.)

First Burris denied speaking to anyone associated with Blagojevich about the Senate seat. Then he admitted that oh yeah, maybe he chatted with one or two folks, or three or four (including Blago's brother), and that he had tried to raise money for the governor (hard cold cash that could help him pay his legal bills).

Remember, when Burris testified before the Illinois House Special Investigative Committee on Jan. 8 about his appointment by Blagojevich to replace President-elect Obama in the Senate, he said there was no quid pro quo involving his selection. Check out this video of the testimony provided by the C-SPAN Video Library.

The Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post today both had editorials calling on Burris to resign.

It could be Burris's own Senate colleagues who toss him out. They've ordered up an investigation by the Senate ethics committee, which could recommend the new senator's expulsion from the Senate.

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times has a string of one-hit Burris wonders on her blog, including a little ditty about how Burris came to tell Reid and Durbin about his affidavit to the Illinois House impeachment committee. (The affidavit, the Chicago Tribune explains, was "an attempt to clean up his live, sworn testimony to the panel Jan. 8, when he omitted his contacts with several Blagojevich insiders.")

Of all the times he chose to tell the Senate Democratic leaders: during last week's climactic Senate vote on economic stimulus bill. And Burris did it casually, as if to say, "I just sent a letter to my friends back in Springfield telling them what a great time I'm having in Washington" rather than "Bad news, fellas: I just filed an affidavit with the state House explaining away some of the misstatements I've made about this Senate appointment."

Sweet says in his conversation with Reid and Durbin, "Burris vastly minimized the nature of the document he filed."

Grab your popcorn, movie buffs. This plot's gonna thicken, even more.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  February 18, 2009; 11:46 AM ET
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Next: Bernie Sanders' Left Coast Tour Into Capitalist Country


I like Burris. The man speaks up, he defends himself. Illinois should have elected him long ago.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | February 18, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Yes, angry dog, he defends himself like most corrupt criminals.

He's just like Blago, who can't shut up for a damn second and seems to not need to take a breath, so intent is he on defending himself.

You certainly have low or no expectations for your leaders. All of Illinois knows this guy is a loser and a criminal, just like the guy who appointed him.

Posted by: MikeK3 | February 18, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

The Borgen Project has some good info on the cost of addressing global poverty.

$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
$550 billion: U.S. Defense budget

Posted by: atsegga | February 18, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I like the old song,

Posted by: sprayadhesive | February 18, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats waited until Burris gave them the 60th vote on the stimulus bill before they brought up this issue. Now they can kick him out like they wanted to from the beginning.

Posted by: glacarster | February 19, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Salinger doesn't hold the record. After Sen. Wellstone (D-MN) died, Gov. Ventura appointed Dean Barkley, who served out the remaining two months of the term. Let's also not forget Louis Wyman, who was a Senator for four entire days stemming from that wacky 1974 New Hampshire race....

Posted by: BlueOx | February 19, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

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