Hat Tip: Politico.com
Sen. Dick Durbin urged Sen. Roland Burris on Tuesday to quit his job as the junior senator from Illinois, but the embattled senator has no plans of leaving the Senate.
In a private meeting that lasted nearly an hour, Durbin told Burris that the growing controversy over his appointment would make it difficult for him to continue serving in the Senate. Durbin also expressed disappointment that Burris did not reveal his extensive contacts and his fund raising efforts for the ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who appointed him to the seat on Dec. 30.
“I told him that under the circumstances, I would consider resigning if I were in his shoes,” Durbin said. “He said he would not resign. That is his conclusion. At this point, I suggested to him that he had to do everything in his power to bring all the facts out as completely as possible.”
Durbin warned Burris that he would lose a Democratic primary if he were to run in 2010, but Burris said he has not made a decision on whether to run next fall.
The meeting was a remarkable chapter in the controversy involving Blagojevich, the ousted former governor who was arrested last December for allegedly trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder.
Blagojevich defied party leaders Dec. 30 by announcing that Burris was his choice to fill Obama’s seat, setting off a battle over whether the Senate should seat Burris. Under enormous pressure, Democratic Senate leaders seated Burris and swore him in on the condition he present valid paperwork and testify truthfully before state legislators in the Blagojevich impeachment case.
Some Senate Democrats are now privately regretting that they relented and seated Burris in the first place.
The most recent controversy started Feb. 14 when news broke that Burris had submitted an affidavit saying he’d spoken with several Blagojevich associates, including the governor’s brother, Rob, about his interest in the seat. That statement appeared to diverge from his Jan. 8 testimony to state legislators where he only discussed one contact with the former governor.
And last week, Burris dropped another bombshell saying he tried to raise money for the then-governor at the time of expressing his interest in the seat.
“The fact that he did not volunteer – volunteer the names like people like Rod Blagojevich’s brother was troubling to me,” Durbin said.