Burris could be called back to testify

February 16, 2009 8:30:21 PM PST
Sen. Roland Burris may be called back to Springfield to testify again before the Illinois House Impeachment Committee.Some state lawmakers say Burris committed perjury when he failed to reveal contacts he had with advisers to then-Governor Blagojevich.

U.S Sen. Roland Burris was swarmed by reporters as he left his home Monday on the city's South Side and faced tough questions about the new affidavit all day that details those contacts.

VIDEO: U.S. Sen. Roland Burris made a brief statement Monday morning.

Some Illinois Republican leaders want Senator Burris investigated for perjury in connection with the affidavit.

Burris tried Monday to embark on a what he called a statwide listening tour to connect with voters.

"We're talking about the Senate stimulus package and how it's going to impact Illinois and I'm going to be learning what the problems are from my constituents," Burris said Monday.

But what he hoped would be his message Monday was lost in more questions about the senator's January testimony before the Illinois House impeachment committee. Weeks after his appearance, Burris quietly filed an affidavit with the committee adding information. In it, he acknowledged that during October and November of last year, he was solicited three times for campaign contributions by the brother of then-Governor Blagojevich.

"It was done because we promised the committee we would supplement information in case we missed anything. End of story. God bless you all. Thank you very much," Burris said to reporters.

Senate Democratic leaders Harry Reid and Dick Durbin said the impeachment committee testimony was critical to their support for Burris, who was appointed by Blagojevich. The former governor faces a criminal charge for trying to sell the seat vacated by Pres. Barack Obama.

Illinois House minority leader Tom Cross wants Burris investigated for possible perjury by the state's attorney in Springfield.

"Let an independent entity not involved with the impeachment, not involved with the testimony make a decision on whether or not there is a criminal case. If there is, there is. If there isn't, there isn't, and we move on," said Cross, who represents Oswego.

Cross accused impeachment committee chairwoman Barbara Flynn-Currie of trying to keep the Burris affidavit secret. Her spokesman explained Monday that she still had not fully read the three-page document dated February 4.

Meanwhile, U.S. Congressman Danny Davis, who says he was offered the Senate appointment before Burris, called the new controversy partisan politics as usual.

"What the Republicans are saying is part of their political plan, part of their political gamesmanship," said Congressman Danny Davis.

The Republican state Chairman Andy McKenna is calling the Burris problem a continuation of a national embarrassment over the Senate seat.