Burris: It's White's job to sign certificate

Sec. of State refuses to accept certificate of appt.
December 31, 2008 8:58:15 PM PST
After the Secretary of State refused to sign his certificate of appointment to the U.S. Senate, Roland Burris filed a complaint against Jesse White. The former Illinois Attorney General was appointed to the seat left vacant by Pres.-Elect Barack Obama on Tuesday by embattled Governor Rod Blagojevich. Several lawmakers are fighting the appointment because of the allegations of corruption against Blagojevich.

Senate seat standoff

The battle over the Illinois Senate seat has officially begun. The governor fired the first shot when he appointed Burris on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Jesse White, who must co-sign the document, returned fire by having his office refuse to accept the certificate of appointment from Blagojevich. But even White knows he might be shooting blanks.

"We will take it back up to the governor's office and we will move forward and find out what the next options are," said Clayton Harris, governor's acting chief of staff. Watch the refusal

The letter has Blagojevich's signature, but White's will remain blank, even if it's only a symbolic gesture.

"My counsel is looking at it but I believe the Governor can go past me and submit it to the Senate of the United States," said Sec. of State White. White knew he may be sued for taking a stance.

In Washington, a spokesperson for Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid says the lack of a signature from Illinois' Secretary of State enhances their case against seating the governor's appointee.

But Burris is moving ahead with his plans to be in Washington for the swearing in ceremony next week.

Burris: I am the Senator

"I already have the seat. I have been appointed. I am the Senator from the State of Illinois," said Roland Burris, U.S. Senate appointee, who has yet to be seated. "I am the senator, and the other is a perfunctory process."

Late Wednesday, Burris asked the Illinois Supreme Court to force certification of his appointment. You can also Click Here to read the Writ of Mandamus filed with the Illinois Supreme Court.

"Focus on the statutes. When we do that, all this other stuff with the governor falls away. It is a non-issue," said Burris.

A spokesman for the governor said he's still deciding whether to ask state lawyers to enforce the validity of his appointment.

Legal troubles growing

Also on Wednesday, court filing reveals Mr. Blagojevich's legal troubles may be growing. In addition to what the feds now say were 'thousands' of intercepted phone calls, "multiple witnesses have come forward in recent weeks to discuss their knowledge of criminal activity in relation to the ongoing investigation."

Blagojevich had little to say to reporters on Wednesday.

"How about a New Years' resolution you stay away next year?"