Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chicago Tribune to Roland Burris: RESIGN

Chicago Tribune editorial: Roland Burris, resign

The benefit of the doubt had already been stretched thin and taut by the time Roland Burris offered his third version of the events leading to his appointment to the U.S. Senate. It finally snapped like a rubber band, popping him on that long Pinocchio nose of his, when he came out with version four.

Let’s see if we have it right: Burris had zero contact with any of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s cronies about his interest in the Senate seat being vacated by President Barack Obama— unless you count that conversation with former chief of staff Lon Monk, and, on further reflection, the ones with insiders John Harris, Doug Scofield and John Wyma and, oh yeah, the governor’s brother and fund-raising chief, Robert Blagojevich. But Burris didn’t raise a single dollar for the now ex-governor as a result of those contacts because that could be construed as a quid pro quo and besides, everyone he asked refused to donate.

The story gets worse with every telling.

Enough. Roland Burris must resign.

His protests that he had nothing to hide just don’t square with his obvious attempts to hide something, as evidenced by the evolving truths in three sworn statements to the House impeachment panel. His Jan. 8 testimony before that panel contradicted the affidavit he’d filed three days earlier. On Feb. 5 he submitted a “clarification” detailing the contacts he’d failed to mention on the stand.

Now he has admitted that the governor’s brother hit him up to raise campaign cash, and in at least one conversation, Burris raised his prospects for being appointed to the Senate.

Rob Blagojevich’s attorney has acknowledged that the feds likely have at least one of those conversations on tape. Burris told reporters Monday night that he “talked to some people about trying to see if we could put a fund-raiser on,” but “they said ‘We aren’t giving money to the governor.’”

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