Burris answering more than listening in light of allegations


Roland Burris launched a listening tour of Illinois Monday as Republican leaders call for an investigation of his conduct and possibly his resignation.

Roland Burris has been on the defensive amid allegations that he may have perjured himself while testifying before the Illinois House investigative committee.   A newly released affidavit contradicts Burris' testimony regarding his contact with Blagojevich's brother and other advisers about the U.S. Senate seat.

Burris insists he did nothing wrong and never misled anyone. Burris says he never got a chance to answer a direct question about Blagojevich's brother and submitted an affidavit February 4th to clarify.

"They're asking lots and lots of questions they don't know the answers to and because the question isn't very clear, they're not going to get very much information," said Kathryn Eisenhart, Chair, UIS legal studies department.

Whether or not Burris is guilty of perjury remains to be seen, but many lawmakers say the junior Senator's reputation has been badly damaged. 

"It was incredibly stupid politically for him not to be completely forthcoming," said Kent Redfield, UIS political science professor. "If he had said something, if he'd revealed these facts that day, they'd have been part of a story that would have gone away."

Some House Republicans are asking the Sangamon County State's Attorney's office to determine if in fact Burris did perjure himself.  In the meantime, Burris has started a listening tour of Illinois, but is spending more time answering questions from the media than listening to the concerns of his constituents.

Governor Pat Quinn has said that Senator Burris and his lawyers should disclose everything that needs to be disclosed, the more sunlight, the better.

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