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Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Never Ending Saga of Rod Blagojevich Continues

When Roland Burris was chosen for the U.S. Senate by Rod Blagojevich, most in the media, and elsewhere, assured us that Burris was a man of unquestioned character. Most also agreed that there was nothing untoward in Blagojevich choosing Burris, himself, for the Senate seat. Both were dubious proclamations to me. After all, Burris had spent his entire career in Springfield. There are very few politicians that have spent their entire career in Springfield and wind up pure. In Springfield, there are three types of politicians. The first type are those that are corrupt themselves. Those are politicians like Blagojevich himself. They account for a significant number of the overall political class. The second type of politician are the enablers of the corrupt politicians. This sort of politician isn't corrupt themselves, but they do little to challenge their colleagues despite knowing that most of them are corrupt. This class includes the current President and Burris himself. He may not have been involved in much corruption himself, but he certainly did little to stop it while it occurred. The third are the genuine reformers though those are few and far between.

It also didn't make sense because while he was likely never in serious consideration, Burris was always a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat. In fact, he reached out to Blagojevich himself. I believe that Blagojevich was nothing if not thorough in his corruption. As such, it would only make sense that he would send out feelers to even Burris.

As such, the latest development in the Blagojevich saga shouldn't really be surprising.

On Saturday, Burris' spokesman told FOX News that Blagojevich's brother asked Burris for up to $10,000 in campaign donations before he was appointed to the U.S. Senate by then-Gov. Blagojevich of Illinois.

Sen. Burris didn't make the donation but failed to disclose the request under oath before an Illinois House impeachment panel.

The Chicago Sun-Times first reported on its Web site Saturday that Burris made the disclosure in a new affidavit sent to the head of the state committee that recommended Blagojevich be removed from office.

According to the newspaper, the affidavit is dated Feb. 5 -- three weeks after Burris was sworn in to fill President Obama's former Senate seat.

Burris says he sent the affidavit to Illinois House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie when he realized his testimony before the committee wasn't complete.

So, not coincidentally, but conveniently, Burris initially claimed that there was nothing untoward between himself and the Blagojevich camp, then, after he was sworn in, he admitted there were more contacts. Now, it comes out that Blagojevich's brother, Robert, asked for campaign donations in return for consideration of the Seat.

I can't get into Burris' head and so I don't know what he was thinking throughout the affair. This is however the M.O. for most Illinois politicians. If, in fact, he is impeached and removed, it will likely be because he underestimated the mood of the State toward corruption. This is the standard operating procedure of most corrupt politicians.

Burris has coveted the U.S. Senate for a while. If the current admission had come out right away, he would not have been allowed to get the seat. Admitting that prior testimony was "incomplete" is just the sort of thing that a politician usually skates from in normal times in Illinois. After all, how do you prove what someone did or didn't remember at any given time? It's just the sort of thing that a politician would get away with most of the time. Of course, now, most Illinois politicians have a renewed sense of integrity, and suddenly, the mood here in Illinois is toward honesty and integrity. It's just the sort of position that one can't get away with today.

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