Remember Roland Burris, the crazy old coot appointed by disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to fill Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat? Things have been kind of quiet on the Burris front for a while now, at least since he was busted lying under oath, but that's all about to change.
Yesterday afternoon word leaked that a transcript of a conversation between Burris and Rod Blagojevich's brother, Robert Blagojevich, had been unsealed by a federal judge at the request of a U.S. Senate ethics panel investigating Burris, and the transcript revealed that Burris offered to personally write Blagojevich a check for the Governor's Senate appointment, among other things.
"Tell Rod to keep me in mind for that seat, would ya?" Burris is quoted as saying in the Nov. 13 telephone conversation with the governor's brother Robert Blagojevich. which was secretly wiretapped by the FBI.
The remark came after Robert Blagojevich, head of the then-governor's campaign fund, urged Burris to "keep me in mind and you know if you guys can just write checks that'd be fine, if we can't find a way for you to tie in."
"Okay, okay, well we, we, I, I will personally do something, okay," Burris says.
Earlier in the conversation, Burris and Robert Blagojevich explored the possibility that Burris might raise campaign money on a larger scale.
"I know I could give him a check," Burris said. "Myself."
Burris' lawyer, Tim Wright, said that the tape in question will actually vindicate his client and help him to emerge from the black cloud of controversy his Senate appointment's been engulfed in. Wright told the Chicago Sun-Times that Burris discussed writing a $1,500 check but that his client never sent it to Blagojevich, a decision he claims had absolutely nothing to do with Blagojevich's Dec. 9 arrest.
However, some members of Congress don't exactly see it the same way.
Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock), said he is "extraordinarily" bothered by Burris' willingness to donate to Blagojevich by mid-December and disputed Wright's assertion the tape exonerates Burris.
"That's not what he told our committee at all," said Franks, the sponsor of a resolution to censure Burris that is bottled up in the House. "I don't think there's any vindication here at all. It underscores what we found at our committee: He wasn't truthful."
What will become of Burris, most recently seen making up stories about helping old ladies on airplanes, and his career in the Senate remains to be seen, but we can't help but feel that all of this controversy swirling around Burris is rooted in nothing more than a bunch of haters who can't control their petty feelings of tomb-envy. Leave crazy old Roland Burris alone, okay?!
Burris on tape: Promises to 'do something' for Blagojevich [Chicago Sun Times]