Roland Burris will appear before the House Impeachment Committee in Springfield Thursday, which could help determine if the U.S. Senate will finally seat him.
Roland Burris will appear before the House Impeachment Committee in Springfield Thursday, which could help determine if the U.S. Senate will finally seat him. Democratic senate leaders in Washington said they are prepared to allow Burris entry into the Senate if the Illinois Supreme Court rules in his favor and forces Secretary of State Jesse White to sign a certification form he has refused to sign and if Burris appears before the committee to answer questions about his relationship with Gov. Rod Blagojevich. White said he has nothing against Burris but is refusing to sign the form because he is not legally required to in order for Burris to be seated and because Gov. Blagojevich made the appointment after he previously said he would not appoint anyone. Burris’ appearance before state lawmakers follows a subpoena issued by the impeachment committee at the request of state Rep. Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs. Durkin said Burris needs to explain to the committee how the appointment unfolded. House Majority Leader Barbara Currie (D-Chicago), who chairs the impeachment committee, said she does not expect Burris’ appearance to be relevant to the impeachment hearing but wanted to go along with the Republican request for Burris to appear. While Burris is not accused of any wrongdoing, Blagojevich faces federal charges for, among other offenses, allegedly trying to sell the vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder, according to a 76-page criminal compliant filed by the U.S. Attorney. Barack Obama previously held the seat before being elected the nation’s first Black president in November. According to a Jan. 5 affidavit Burris submitted to the committee, Sam Adams Jr., an attorney for Blagojevich, came to Burris’ South Side home Dec. 26 to ask if the former comptroller and attorney general would accept the Senate appointment by the governor. Burris told Adams he needed a few days to discuss it with friends and family. Then on Dec. 28, the governor called Burris to see if he had made a decision. That is when the governor formally offered the appointment to him. “Prior to the Dec. 26 telephone call from Mr. Adams Jr., there was not any contact between myself or any of my representatives with Gov. Blagojevich or any of his representatives regarding my appointment to the United States Senate,” Burris said. No other topics were discussed including any deals or favors in return for the appointment, Burris added. ______ Copyright 2009 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.