When Roland Burris testified under oath before an Illinois House impeachment panel on Jan. 8, Burris was questioned by Rep. James Durkin (R, Western Springs) on a key point:
REPRESENTATIVE DURKIN: Did you talk to any members of the Governor’s staff or anyone closely related to the Governor, including family members or any lobbyists connected with him, including let me throw out some names, John Harris, Rob Blagojevich, Doug Scofield, Bob Greenleaf, Lon Monk, John Wyma, did you talk to anybody who was associated with the Governor about your desire to seek the appointment prior to the Governor’s arrest?
MR. WRIGHT: Give us a moment.
MR. BURRIS: I talked to some friends about my desire to be appointed, yes.
REPRESENTATIVE DURKIN: I guess the point is I was trying to ask, did you speak to anybody who was on the Governor’s staff prior to the Governor’s arrest or anybody, any of those individuals or anybody who is closely related to the Governor?
MR. BURRIS: I recall having a meeting with Lon Monk about my partner and I trying to get continued business, and I did bring it up, it must have been in September or maybe it was in July of ’08 that, you know, you’re close to the Governor, let him know that I am certainly interested in the seat.
REPRESENTATIVE DURKIN: Okay. Did you speak to any individuals who — any individuals who were also seeking the appointment of the United States Senate seat, otherwise people we’ve referred to as Senate candidates one through five?
MR. BURRIS: No, I did not.
REPRESENTATIVE DURKIN: Okay. At any time were you directly or indirectly aware of a quid pro quo with the Governor for the appointment of this vacant Senate seat?
MR. BURRIS: No, sir.
The Chicago Sun-Times now picks up the story. The Sun-Times reports: “Burris changed his answer Feb. 5 in a quietly filed affidavit.” The Sun-Times has posted the affidavit here. In the affidavit Burris discloses that he himself was hit up for $10,000 in campaign cash by Blagojevich’s brother.
Lynn Sweet adds that Burris also failed to disclose the names of Blagojevich associates whom he spoke with about getting the appointment, either to the impeachment committee or to her personally at a January 7 news conference. Sweet has posted a transcipt of Burris’s “evasive answer” to her question on the subject at his January 7 news conference.
The Sun-Times adds that in a statement to the paper Burris said he wasn’t given the opportunity to fully answer the question before the House panel. Burris’s statement does not appear to square with the transcript.
Rep. Durkin is not happy. He comments: “I don’t trust anything that comes out of Roland Burris’ mouth or from his pen.” Under the circumstances, it seems like a fair comment.
UPDATE: I missed Ed Morrissey’s comments on the Sun-Times reports.
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