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The Mechanics
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Blagojevich Tue May 26 2009

Oh, Burris

A Sun-Times exclusive has Burris on tape with impeached former Governor Rod Blagojevich's chief fund raiser and brother, Rob Blagojevich, promising a check a month before he got his appointment in December.

Burris has previously stated, in an affidavit to the House panel investigating Blagojevich's impeachment, that he had had no contact with Blagojevich or his representatives but for a single conversation with Blago attorney Sam Adam Jr. He later amended his affidavit to say that he had had fund raising conversations but only to say he wouldn't contribute.

The Sun-Times story did not have a transcript of the audio. Burris' story is evolving, which usually means there is a cover-up going on; but just the fact that he made a pledge to donate money to Blagojevich in November, before the election, and later he was appointed Senator, after the firestorm of Blago's arrest, isn't enough to call "pay to play" or "corrupt bargain" just yet. Probably, though, we can call him a liar.

Probably:

In a Jan. 5 affidavit Burris told the committee: "Prior to the December 26, 2008 telephone call from Mr. [Sam] Adams, Jr., there was not any contact between myself or any of my representatives with Governor Blagojevich or any of his representatives regarding my appointment to the United States Senate."

Adam is a member of Rod Blagojevich's legal team.

Wright said that affidavit had to do solely with the actual appointment. Because Burris wasn't even in consideration until after the ex-governor was charged, he didn't detail conversations with Rod Blagojevich's aides or brother, Wright said.

Then, this is what Burris said in his amended affidavit Feb. 4:

"I recall that Governor Blagojevich's brother, Rob Blagojevich, called me three times to seek my assistance in fund-raising for Governor Blagojevich. ...

"I mentioned the Senate seat in the context of saying that I could not contribute to Governor Blagojevich because it could be viewed as an attempt to curry favor with him regarding his decision to appoint a successor to President Obama," Burris wrote. "I did not raise or donate any funds to Governor Blagojevich after the fundraiser on June 27, 2008."

During the Jan. 8 appearance before the impeachment committee, Burris was asked to identify all Blagojevich emissaries with whom he spoke -- including Robert Blagojevich. Burris only named Lon Monk. Burris insisted during that testimony there was no quid pro quo with Blagojevich regarding the appointment.

Got that everybody? No evidence of pay to play, but likely proof that Burris lied to or misled a House panel investigated an impeachment proceeding. Not cool.

 
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