Affidavit details Burris’ link to Rob Blagojevich

Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., speaks during a press conference outside the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago on Monday. Burris submitted an affidavit on Monday detailing his correspondence with Robert Blagojevich held before being appointed t Paul Beaty, The Associated Press

AP

Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., speaks during a press conference outside the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago on Monday. Burris submitted an affidavit on Monday detailing his correspondence with Robert Blagojevich held before being appointed t Paul Beaty, The Associated Press

By Don Babwin

CHICAGO – U.S. Sen. Roland Burris insisted Monday he voluntarily sent state lawmakers an affidavit outlining contacts with ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s brother prior to his Senate appointment and was not prompted by federal agents investigating the former governor.

“It was done because we promised the (impeachment) committee we would supplement information in case we missed anything,” Burris said outside a South Side church before meeting with religious leaders.

Burris released an affidavit over the weekend in which he admitted Blagojevich’s brother asked him for campaign fundraising help before Blagojevich appointed him to the Senate.

The disclosure is at odds with Burris’ testimony in January, when the Illinois House impeachment committee specifically asked whether he had ever spoken to Robert Blagojevich or other aides to the now-deposed governor about the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.

The discrepancy could mean Burris perjured himself.

But the Democratic senator remained adamant that the Feb. 4 affidavit was merely a promised supplement, not a contradiction, to his testimony before the committee and was not requested as part of the federal corruption investigation of Blagojevich’s administration.

“There was no change of any of our testimony,” Burris, 71, said. “We followed up as we promised the impeachment committee… The information that’s being reported in terms of that this was done because of a fed statement is absolutely, positively not true.”

Blagojevich appointed Burris to the Senate Dec. 30, three weeks after the governor was arrested on a federal complaint that he tried to trade the Senate post for campaign cash or a high-paying job. The House impeached him and the Senate removed him from office Jan. 29.

The affidavit’s release prompted state Republican leaders to call for Burris’ resignation and a perjury investigation while members of his own party, including Blagojevich successor Gov. Pat Quinn, say they would like a full explanation from Burris.

According to the affidavit, Robert Blagojevich called Burris three times – once in October and twice after the November election – to seek his fundraising assistance.

The disclosure reflects a major omission from Burris’ testimony in January.

Burris said he never got a chance to answer a direct question about Blagojevich’s brother, and submitted the Feb. 4 affidavit to clarify.

However, transcripts of Burris’ impeachment committee testimony show he had opportunities to provide a full response to Illinois legislators.

Associated Press writer Rupa Shenoy contributed to this report