Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., talks to the media about an affidavit that he filed Feb. 5 with the Illinois House committee. (Tribune photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo / February 15, 2009)
Facing a perjury probe in Illinois and an ethics investigation in Washington, U.S. Sen.Roland Burris pleaded for yet another chance to explain himself after admitting he tried to raise campaign cash for then- Gov. Rod Blagojevich while seeking the Senate seat from him.
The junior senator, just a month in office, struggled to maintain a sense of normalcy on a Downstate "goodwill tour" but found no goodwill from fellow politicians. Republicans and even some Democrats in Illinois called for his resignation, and in Washington, senators who had barely begun to accept his controversial appointment chafed at the revived scandal.
Burris tried to stem the political damage by limiting his public comments Tuesday, but his evolving explanations had already set off a cascade of new questions about how he came to be picked by Blagojevich, who was charged with trying to sell the former Senate seat ofPresident Barack Obama for personal or political profit.
"There were never any inappropriate conversations between me and anyone else," said Burris, who took no questions from reporters. "And I will answer any and all questions to get that point across to keep my faith with the citizens of Illinois."