The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Friday, January 09, 2009
Report: Burris may have Lied on Impeachment Affidavit
A potentially troublesome new detail emerged about Roland Burris' controversial U.S. Senate appointment Thursday after a state House panel voted unanimously to recommend Gov. Blagojevich be impeached.This story changes about as often as the Texas weather, but if true this latest twist poses quite a dilemma for Democrats from Springfield to the US Capitol...to the White House.
For the first time, Burris indicated that he asked Blagojevich's former chief of staff and college classmate, Lon Monk, to relay his interest in the Senate seat to the governor last July or September."If you're close to the governor, you know, let him know I'm certainly interested in the seat," Burris said he told Monk.
That testimony appears to differ from an affidivit Burris submitted to the impeachment panel this week in which he stated he spoke to no "representatives" of the governor about the Senate post prior to Dec. 26.
Federal prosecutors, who identified Monk as "Lobbyist 1" in their criminal complaint against Blagojevich, indicated they tapped Monk's phone in November as Blagojevich moved to fill President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat.
On the one hand, if the Democrat majority agrees to seat Burris--and he is then shown by evidence to have lied on his affidavit (i.e. under oath), it could open the door for an indictment of Burris and the scandal that would follow; and if such an indictment were to be issued while impeachment proceedings for Blagojevich were still under way, it could open the door to an Illinois Special Election to determine the seat. This the Democrats decidedly do not want to happen, because it it might result in their losing the seat to the Republicans--who are reported to have some very interesting candidates waiting in the wings (e.g. Mike Ditka).
On the other hand, if Reid, Obama, and the Dems fight Burris' appointment now, after so publicly reversing course on their previous opposition (even if for the reasons listed in the Sun-Times story above), the floodgates then open again to race-sensitive "scorekeepers" in the CBC crying "foul" and "racism" at any further effort to keep Burris out, adding more fuel to the flames of growing public perception that the inmates are running the asylum on Capitol Hill.
While it is understandable that Reid (and truth be told, even Obama...) don't want any part of a Blagojevich scandal-tainted Senator, the embattled Illinois governor increasingly seems to have left the Democrats with no really good options. It would seem unlikely that Obama and Reid will reverse-field again and resume their prior opposition to Burris, as another reversal would generate far too much negative press coverage and controversy.
If the Dems do allow Burris to become a Senator--and if Burris is than shown by evidence to have perjured himself in a case being prosecuted by the dogged Patrick Fitzgerald--their respite from controversy and scandal may be very short-lived, indeed.