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Friday, November 20, 2009

Censure for Burris

The Senate Ethics Committee handed down punishment for Roland Burris today.

Sen. Roland Burris was rebuked today by the Senate Ethics Committee, which issued him a "public letter of qualified admonition" for his actions in connection with his
appointment by disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.The letter informed Burris that the Senate committee had concluded that "your actions reflected unfavorably on the Senate."

"The committee found that 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 letter said.

Burris, who was appointed to the seat vacated by President Barack Obama, sought to cast the committee's action as a vindication, noting that the panel had cited a state's attorney's conclusion that there were no "actionable violations of law."

Now, some, like me, would consider this a slap on the wrist. There's been an unwritten agreement between Burris and Senate leadership. He won't be thrown out of the Senate as long as he doesn't run in 2010.

Burris, as most remember, was chosen by then Governor Blagjojevich to replace Barack Obama in the Senate. Blago did it following all the revelations. Most other pols shied away from being chosen after it was revealed that Blago had allegedly tried to sell that seat. Not so for Burris and he gladly accepted the appointment.

Initially, most of the media claimed that Burris was of a reputation beyond reproach. We needn't worry as Burris wouldn't have involved himself in such under handed dealings. I was skeptical. After all, Burris was an Illinois pol. Soon enough, the initial analysis turned far too rosey.

Now, it appears as though Burris was less than truthful in answering questions about the nature of the contacts between himself and Blago. It's still unclear if anything untoward occurred in securing his seat. It's even less clear if there will be any further investigation. What is clear is that Burris' time is running low in the U.S. Senate. Come January of 2010, someone else will fill his seat.

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