Burris Offered To Send Blago Money In Secretly Taped Phone Call

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From the New York Times:

CHICAGO — A transcript of a secretly recorded telephone call released on Tuesday revealed the degree to which Roland W. Burris aggressively and openly pursued an appointment to the United States Senate with those close to Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois, who went on to appoint Mr. Burris last year before he was removed from the job.

Mr. Burris, who was appointed to succeed Barack Obama in the Senate, is now the subject of two investigations. In the call, he seemed almost in a crass negotiation with Mr. Blagojevich’s brother — also his chief fund-raiser — over how he could help the governor, win the appointment and not run into trouble over negative connotations that he might be trying to buy an appointment by fund-raising for him.

“If I do that, I guarantee you that that will get out, and people said, ‘Oh, Burris is doing a fund-raiser,’ and, and then Rod and I both going to catch hell,” Mr. Burris said in a phone call shortly after the presidential election that opened the Senate seat held by Mr. Obama. By the end of the call, Mr. Burris had promised to send a personal check within a month.

“God knows, No. 1, I want to help Rod,” he was recorded as saying. “No. 2, I also want to, you know, hope I get a consideration to get that appointment.”

At another point, Mr. Burris reminded the governor’s brother, “Tell Rod to keep me in mind for that seat, would you?”

Mr. Burris’s lawyer, Timothy Wright, said the call, captured as part of a larger federal investigation into Mr. Blagojevich, proves that Mr. Burris was not part of any “pay to play” efforts the former governor has been accused of in a federal indictment, including that he tried to sell the Senate appointment for money.

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