Burris ready for investigators

Feb. 17, 2009 at 6:23 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Roland Burris. D-Ill., Tuesday said he is open to state and federal investigations into how he was appointed to his Senate seat.

Burris, appointed to the Senate seat formerly held by President Barack Obama by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich shortly before the governor was impeached, said he had reached out to the county prosecutor reviewing his sworn testimony before the state panel that voted to oust Blagojevich, who is awaiting federal indictment on corruption charges.

Burris Monday admitted he sought to raise campaign money for Blagojevich after talking with the governor's brother. Previously, Burris indicated he done nothing to try to secure his appointment.

"I welcome the opportunity to go before any and all investigative bodies, including those referred by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the Senate Ethics Committee to answer any questions they have," Burris told reporters in Peoria Tuesday.

The Chicago Tribune reported Burris refused to take questions after making his statement but insisted he never had "any inappropriate conversations."

A spokesman for Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said the Nevada senator is reviewing Burris's affidavit about his conversations with the governor's brother, Robert, but won't do anything pending "any action by Illinois legislative leaders after they review the matter," Politico reported Tuesday.

In his affidavit, Burris acknowledged he spoke with the governor's brother three times in October and November about fundraising. Simultaneously, Burris was making his interest in the Senate seat known.

In Jan. 8 testimony before a state legislative committee investigating whether to impeach the governor, Burris said he spoke with one of Rod Blagojevich's associates and said in an affidavit filed at the time he had no contact with anyone close to the governor about the appointment.

Before leaving on a "listening tour" in Illinois, Burris said Monday he submitted an updated affidavit because his review of previous testimony indicated the impeachment proceedings didn't reflect the full account.

"There was no change (in) any of our -- of our testimony," Burris said. "We followed up, as we promised the impeachment committee."

Burris said he doesn't plan to resign, the Peoria Journal Star reported.

"What's going out on the airways is confusing to the public and making me look like I'm some criminal," he said.

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