Burris could face perjury investigation linked to testimony

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New details revealed Saturday could lead to a perjury investigation of U.S. Senator Roland Burris.

Burris released documents that indicate former governor Rod Blagojevich's brother, Rob Blagojevich, asked him to host a campaign fundraiser for the governor before Blagojevich appointed Burris to replace Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate. The disclosure reflects a major omission from Burris' testimony in January when an Illinois House impeachment committee specifically asked if he had ever spoken to Blagojevich's brother or other aides about the seat.

Burris acknowledges Rob Blagojevich asked him for up to $10,000 in campaign donations before the appointment. Burris didn't make the donation. Burris says he sent an affidavit containing new details to House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie when he realized his testimony before the committee wasn't complete. Burris says he had three conversations with Robert Blagojevich, who led the Friends of Blagojevich campaign fund.

In response, Illinois House Republicans say they want Burris investigated for perjury. State Rep. Jim Durkin says he and GOP leader Tom Cross will ask for an outside investigation. Durkin says he doesn't trust majority Democrats in the General Assembly to conduct a fair investigation. But Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, a Chicago Democrat and committee chairwoman, says she plans further committee action and that seeking an outside investigation now is premature.

Glenn Selig, a spokesman for the former governor, released a statement saying Blagojevich "acted ethically and honestly and believes Sen. Burris did too."

Blagojevich was impeached and removed from office last month. He faces federal charges alleging he tried to profit from naming a replacement to Obama's Senate seat.

The following is the text of Burris' affidavit to Currie.

State of Illinois

County of Cook

Affidavit of Roland W. Burris

I, Roland W. Burris, being first sworn on oath, depose and state that the following is true to the best of my knowledge and recollection:

1. I am the Junior United States Senator for the State of Illinois.

2. On January 8, 2009, I testified before the Illinois House of Representatives Impeachment Committee and was asked, among other things, whether I had talked to "anyone closely related to the Governor" about my "desire to seek (the U.S. Senate) appointment" prior to Governor Blagojevich's arrest. I mentioned a conversation with Lon Monk but was then asked another question and did not mention anyone else. I wish to supplement my answer with other events that I have been able to recall, to make certain the record is complete.

3. On June 27, 2008, I attended a fundraising event for then-Governor Blagojevich, at which I encountered Doug Scofield and John Wyma. During that event, I likely asked Mr. Scofield and/or Mr. Wyma to tell Governor Blagojevich that I was interested in filling now-President Barack Obama's Senate seat if he were to be elected President of the United States.

4. I recall that Governor Blagojevich's brother, Rob Blagojevich, called me three times to seek my assistance in fund-raising for Governor Blagojevich. The first conversation was in early October, 2008, and the other two were shortly after the election. During the first conversation I asked Rob Blagojevich what was going on with the selection of a successor if then-Senator Obama were elected President, and he said he had heard my name mentioned in the discussions. In one of the other conversations (I believe the last one), I mentioned the Senate seat in the context of saying that I could not contribute to Governor Blagojevich because it could be viewed as an attempt to curry favor with him regarding his decision to appoint a successor to President Obama. I did not raise or donate any funds to Governor Blagojevich after the fundraiser on June 27, 2008.

5. In October, 2008, I attempted to contact John Harris via telephone to give a recommendation for my nephew who had applied for a job with the State of Illinois. Mr. Harris was unavailable and I left a voicemail message for him. Approximately three weeks later, Mr. Harris called and I discussed with him my nephew's qualifications for the job with the State of Illinois. At the conclusion of the conversation, I inquired as to the whether there was any news regarding then-Governor Blagojevich's possible picks to fill President Obama's Senate seat. Mr. Harris indicated that there was no news as to President Obama's replacement.

6. Before the November election I also called Ed Smith, a friend and supporter of then-Governor Blagojevich. Although I do not consider Mr. Smith closely related to or a representative of Governor Blagojevich, I mention for completeness that I asked Mr. Smith whether I had any chance to be appointed to the Senate seat. He said he would get back to me but he never did.

Further affiant sayeth naught

Signed

Roland W. Burris

United States Senator for the State of Illinois

Subscribed and sworn to me this 4th day of February, 2009

Signed

Notary Public

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