Friday, January 02, 2009

Burris? WTF?

The Blago situation continues to be bizarre and surreal. Yesterday's news about Blobhead naming Roland Burris to fill Barack Obama's Senate seat is just plain bizarre. Never saw that one coming, especially after Burris called for Blobhead's resignation 2 weeks ago. I always considered Burris to be ethical and competent during his terms as Illinois comptroller and attorney general, not a rock star, but a solid, dependable guy. If Blobhead had stepped down and Burris had been nominated by Pat Quinn, I don't think anyone would have had a problem with that nomination. A Sun-Times article about his life and career helps put it into perspective.

Why would someone with his long, clean record of public service willingly accept a nomination from someone as radioactive as Blobhead? Jesse White, who would have to sign off on the nomination as Secretary of State, has publicly stated that he would refuse to do so, because any nomination by Blobhead would be tainted by the current scandal, even for a seemingly clean nominee such as Burris. Also, while I would like to see increased minority representation in Congress, should Obama's replacement be chosen on the basis of race, regardless of who is most qualified?

Watch the video of the press conference, accessible from the first link above. One of the reporters questions Burris about a $14K contribution by his firm to Blobhead. According to a Sun-Times article, Burris, his lobbying firm, his clients and a law firm that includes him donated $127,986 to Blobhead since 2002. Burris gave $4,500 personally, including $1,000 in 2008. Blobhead got $10,796 in cash and services from Burris & Lebed Consulting (lobbyists). Burris's law firm gave $5,000. Burris' consulting firm has scored $294,546.30 in state contracts under Blobhead's tenure in office.

Is the latest bit of pay to play to see the light of day? That and Burris' answer certainly make him look like less than he previously appeared to be. Here's more on the money angle. Some of the comments here are interesting.

What's your $0.02 on this? Please leave comments.

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