Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Burris: "No Pay to Play Was Involved Because I Don't Have Any Money"; New Report Sheds Light on Burris/Blagojevich Money Trail

Fox news is reporting:

Roland Burris has denied having any relationship with disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but a close examination of his record raises new questions about his claim. reports that Burris -- the former Illinois attorney general who has been appointed by Blagojevich to fill President-elect Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat -- held a 2006 fundraiser for the governor at his home.

Burris and his lobbying firm also donated $22,295 to Blagojevich's campaign, according to

Over the past four years, Burris' lobbying firm reportedly won $705,435 in state contracts. And Burris' longtime lobbying partner Fred Lebed is a board member of the Christian Industrial League -- the same group that hired Blagojevich's wife Patricia.

Lebed has denied having any involvement in the hiring of the governor's wife. "I first learned about her after her appointment -- her being on contract I think a day or two after she was hired," Lebed told

"There's absolutely, unequivocally, no conflict of interest whatsoever," he said.

The Chicago Sun Times adds some more insight into Burris' lack of judgement and true motivation.

Burris should have shown the citizens in Illinois the same consideration (that Bill Richardson showed in withdrawling his nomination for a Cabinet Post).

As the state's longtime former comptroller and also former state attorney general, Burris made a name for himself in Illinois.

But on the national stage, Burris is a nobody who will arrive in Washington looking like an opportunist rather than a statesman.

As a result of the controversy, it will be difficult for Burris to be an effective voice for Illinois.

But that's not why I find this whole episode so distasteful.

The man who once claimed to be outraged by the rank pay-to-play politics isn't the man who is going to Washington.

The man who is going to Washington is the ultimate political insider who is acting in his self-interest.

I believe Burris genuinely doesn't get why anyone would think he is doing anything wrong.

The fact that he doesn't shows how badly Illinois needs change.

The end result? Burris will be seated and Harry Reid, Barack Obama and others will have failed their first test of "Change" and "Hope". They have allowed an embatteld Blago to control Washington insiders with puppet strings from his home in Illinois.

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