Burris admonished by Senate ethics panel

Nov. 20, 2009 at 12:49 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- The Senate ethics committee Friday admonished Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., for his comments about his appointment to the Senate last December.

In its three-page "public letter of qualified admonition," the committee reprimanded Burris for statements he made in which he denied trying to raise campaign funds for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for his political committees. Blagojevich was impeached, removed from office, and is under indictment on accusations he tried to sell President Barack Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder. Blagojevich appointed Burris after being indicted.

"You gave multiple and at times contradictory explanations for failing to disclose off your contacts with the governor's associates, which individually and collectively gave the appearance that you were being less than candid," the letter said.

In the time between making the statements and being sworn in, Burris amended his testimony to say that he had discussed trying to raise money for Blagojevich.

"You should have known that you were providing incorrect, inconsistent, misleading or incomplete information to the public, the Senate, and those conducting legitimate inquiries into your appointment to the Senate," the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, comprised of three Democrats and three Republicans, said in its unanimous opinion.

A letter of admonition is the mildest form of rebuke that the ethics committee can deliver.

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