Revenge of Blago (Part 3), Starring Roland Burris
UPDATED 1:22 p.m. with "quid pro quo" video
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.
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.
Mary Ann Akers
February 18, 2009; 11:46 AM ET
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