Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Why Is Roland Burris Soliciting Campaign Contributions?

I asked this question on May 24, and it bears repeating today. Burris, a Democrat, was appointed by former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich on December 30, 2008 to fill the Senate seat formerly held by Berserk Obama. "I will not be a candidate in the 2010 election," Burris said at a press conference in July, 2009, "I will not run." (Source: The Hill) In light of today's news about the possibility that Burris might have to leave office earlier than previously expected, we again wonder aloud why Burris still has his Senate campaign website up - with an active "Contribute Now!" button that leads to a PayPal donation page. On June 16, 2010, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decided that a special election must be held to replace Burris. The decision is based on the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which says - in effect - that Roland Burris is only a temporary appointee to the U.S. Senate until an election is held to fill the Obama seat. The decision says that whoever wins the court recommended special election on Nov. 2, 2010 would take office immediately, but would be replaced in January by whoever wins the already-scheduled election on the same day. Neither the Kirk nor Giannoulias campaigns have commented on this development yet. (See GERALD A. JUDGE and DAVID KINDLER, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. PAT QUINN, Governor of the State of Illinois, andROLAND W. BURRIS, U.S. Senator.) Burris was sworn in as a U.S. Senator on January 15, 2009. Burris soon came under fire for contradicting himself a number of times about his contact with Blagojevich's brother Robert prior to being appointed to the Senate. On February 14, 2009 Burris admitted that he spoke to the Blagojevich camp. A Burris spokesman said that Robert Blagojevich asked Burris "to contribute or help raise up to $10,000 in campaign cash before Burris was named a U.S. senator on December 30," according to CNN on Feb. 14, but "Roland Burris told reporters in January that his appointment has nothing to do with money." On Feb. 17, the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee opened an investigation into Burris's contradictions; on Feb. 20, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn called for Burris to resign. On Feb. 24, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) publicly asked Burris to resign. More and more pressure and embarrassment was piled onto Burris essentially made him a lame duck. Realizing that, and the disrespect he was getting from his own party, Burris finally announced that he would not run for election in November, 2010.
"He assured us there was nothing wrong, so we said, ‘Well, say it under oath.' It troubles me that there was a need to file an additional affidavit.” ~ Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL
So - again - why is the "Roland Burris For U.S. Senate" website still soliciting campaign contributions? (Why is that website still up?) You might think that it's just his old site, put up before he agreed to not run and then forgotten about. Not so. At the bottom of the website is a notice that says, "Copyright © 2010 Roland Burris." Remember, Burris agreed to not run back in July, 2009. Has Burris gone back on his word? Or is he just trying to scam campaign donations that will end up as personal income after paying taxes on them? If anybody is foolish enough to click Burris's donation button and actually donate, what will Burris do with the money? Isn't it fraud to accept money under false pretenses? Burris needs the cash, for sure. In April, 2009 Clout Street reported that "Burris campaign officials.... released a report showing the new senator raised only $845 from January through March and had $111,032 in debts from defending himself in ongoing ethics and perjury probes and travel." It's only gotten worse. As of March 31, 2010, according to, Burris's campaign committee is $141,650 in debt and had only $5,654 cash on hand. Will Dick Durbin - or anybody in authority - please look into this? RELATED: Possiblity of two Illinois Senate elections on Nov. 2 Chicago Sun-Times The Problem With the 17th Amendment‎ The Atlantic Blagojevich case timeline‎ Chicago Sun-Times U.S. Constitution: 17th Amendment