Politics & Government

Illinois lawmakers express skepticism over Burris' story

Local legislators aren't buying U.S. Sen. Roland Burris' contention that he never got a chance to tell an Illinois House impeachment committee about his conversations with Gov. Rod Blagojevich's brother.

"I just don't believe that's going to be accepted by the citizens of Illinois unless he's completely forthright on all of the conversations," said state Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton. "I don't think that's going to fly."

However, Haine stopped short of calling for Burris to step down.

"He has to deal with it," Haine said. "If it was him in isolation, it would be up to him. But it brings the entire matter back, and the Republicans are having a field day with it."

Burris released an affidavit over the weekend in which he admitted that Blagojevich's brother asked him for campaign fund-raising help before Blagojevich appointed Burris to the U.S. Senate.

According to the affidavit, Blagojevich's brother, Robert Blagojevich, called Burris three times – once in October and twice after the November election – to seek his fund-raising assistance.

The disclosure reflects a major omission from Burris' testimony in January before the Illinois House committee looking into impeaching the former governor.

Burris said he never got a chance to answer a direct question about Blagojevich's brother, and submitted the Feb. 4 affidavit to clarify.

However, transcripts of Burris' impeachment committee testimony show he had ample opportunities to provide a full response to Illinois legislators.

State Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Highland, said it's clear that Burris didn't give the impeachment committee the whole truth.

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