Report: Feds interviewed Burris about Blago

February 21, 2009 9:07:53 PM PST
Federal authorities have reportedly questioned Sen. Roland Burris about his appointment to the United States senate by disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.A Burris spokesman would not confirm the interview took place.

Several reports say the feds focused on Blagojevich's selection of Burris to the U.S. Senate and not on inconsistencies in Burris' statements this past week.

The feds have been trying for several weeks now to schedule an interview with Roland Burris. The fact that it comes after a tumultuous week in which the senator made conflicting statements about being asked to raise money for Blagojevich is apparently just a coincidence.

Roland Burris wrapped up his third straight day of giving the media the silent treatment Saturday. Others stepped in to fill the void.

"This embarrassing episode in Illinois politics needs to end," said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

Jackson stopped just short of calling on Burris to resign. The one-time Senate-hopeful says he sees huge holes in Burris' account of his dealings ousted Governor Blagojevich, specifically Burris' changing account of whether he tried to raise money for Blagojevich in the weeks leading up to his Senate appointment.

"What's the message we are sending our children with the half truths and deceptions? So, let the chips fall where they may," Congressman Jackson.

Jackson is joining Sen. Dick Durbin and President Obama in saying Burris should quickly provide a full account of his dealings with Blagojevich.

Others, including Gov. Pat Quinn, state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Comptroller Dan Hynes and state house minority leader Tom Cross say Burris should resign immediately.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley say they'll just wait and see.

"He'll have to go out there and explain the facts...Every time something happens, people want you to resign. Wait for his explanation, no rush to judgment," Daley said.

"I think Roland will determine how to handle this, and he'll decide what he's going to do. I don't expect that's he's going to resign," said Rep. Danny Davis, who represents Chicago's West Side.

Burris is at the center of swirling storm. His promise to provide a detailed account of his conversations by the end of the week has remained unfulfilled.

"I think it's fear," said Former Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero.

Guerrero knows a thing or two about being in the midst of a media frenzy. He was Blagojevich's spokesman for his final six months as governor. Guerrero says avoiding questions got the governor nowhere, and a similar fate may await Roland Burris.

"I think he's afraid to admit he talked to the governor, and I think it's out of fear he's not speaking. He needs to come clean and put it together for everyone," Guerrero said.

A spokesman for Roland Burris would only say the senator plans to return to Washington Monday or Tuesday and may even announce a few new additions to his staff.

At least publicly, the Burris team continues to say resignation is not being considered.


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