How about this for a Valentine’s Day gift to journalists:
U.S. Sen. Roland Burris changed his story about whether anyone associated with now-former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich solicited him for a campaign contribution in exchange for being named President Obama’s successor in the U.S. Senate. After previously denying that anything of the sort took place, he suddenly recalls he had three conversations with Robert Blagojevich, the former governor’s brother and head of the Friends of Blagojevich campaign fund, wherein he was asked for “assistance in fundraising for Governor Blagojevich.” The first conversation was in October 2008 and the other two were shortly after Obama was elected president.
In an affidavit filed nine days ago with House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, who headed the committee that recommended Gov. Blagojevich’s impeachment, Burris said he told Blagojevich’s brother, “I could not contribute to Governor Blagojevich because it could be viewed as an attempt to curry favor with him regarding his decision to appoint a successor to President Obama.”
Funny how Burris didn’t remember those conversations until after he officially joined the U.S. Senate. And I don’t mean funny ha ha. Burris didn’t mention any of that during his Jan. 8 testimony before the House impeachment committee, even after being specifically asked whether he met with Blagojevich’s brother about the U.S. Senate seat. Perhaps Burris didn’t literally meet with Robert Blagojevich, but his glaring omission sure sounds like perjury to me.
It sounds like perjury to Illinois House Republicans, too. State Rep. Jim Durkin told The Associated Press he and GOP leader Tom Cross will ask for an outside investigation into whether Burris perjured himself during his Jan. 8 testimony. Good for them.
Burris said he “did not donate or help raise a single dollar for the governor from those conversations and would never consider making a donation through a third party.”
If what Burris says is true, that he didn’t make a campaign contribution to Blagojevich, then why didn’t he just say so during the House hearing? He must have worried the truth would somehow hamper his attempt to become a U.S. senator. Telling the whole truth was less important than chiseling the words “U.S. senator” on his “Trail Blazer” mausoleum in Chicago’s Oak Woods Cemetery. Burris had to put on a good show for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Dick Durbin so they would complete their backpedaling from previous statements calling for Burris not to be seated in the Senate.
If an outside investigation concludes that Burris is guilty of perjury, he deserves whatever resulting consequences there may be. If people start calling for Burris to resign his U.S. Senate seat, he should seriously consider it.
It will be interesting to find out if any of the three conversations between Burris and Robert Blagojevich were recorded by the FBI. If so, we may find out Burris still isn’t telling the whole truth.