Alas, Burris Does Bear the Blot of Blago
Some cynics saw erstwhile governor Blagojevich's appointment of Roland Burris as an underhanded and race-drenched way not only to dare the Senate to attempt to block him (recall Rep. Bobby Rush, at the same press conference, warning not to "hang or lynch" Burris by opposing him), but also to curry favor with black jurors who might one day sit in judgment the impeached governor at a criminal trial.
That may well all be true, but now it appears that Burris' candidacy fit the general Blagojevich template, wherein potential appointees are evaluated not only on the grounds of their qualifications and the racial cover they might provide down the line, but according to their willingness to pay up.
Powerline highlights the glaring discrepancies between Burris' testimony before the Illinois House impeachment panel, an affidavit filed last week showing he was hit up by Blago's brother for campaign cash, and revelations of additional conversations with the governor's proxies about the appointment, which had previously eluded Burris' recall.
Burris now claims he simply wasn't given a full opportunity to explain his answers during the impeachment hearing. Which is understandable. Because it would take a fair bit of time to qualify a "No, sir" in response to "At any time were you directly or indirectly aware of a quid pro quo with the governor for the appointment of this vacant Senate seat?" into something that reconciles with what we now know to be the truth.
As was gradually discovered over the course of Blagopalooza, the Senate never really had any grounds to refuse to seat a legal appointment made by a sitting governor, but they do have fairly broad authority to expel a sitting senator for misconduct with a two-thirds vote. It doesn't happen often (not since the 19th Century), but resignations pending expulsion proceedings are a bit more common (the last being Bob Packwood (R-OR) in 1995).
Given Harry Reid's dead-set opposition to seating Burris in the first place, maybe he'll take this opportunity to purge the Senate of the Blago taint.
Handcrafted by Flip on February 15, 2009 |
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