Ethics Committee Questions Top Senators About Burris

Durbin admits he talked with State's Attorney

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    WASHINGTON - JANUARY 07: Illinois U.S. Senate appointee Roland Burris (C) meets with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (R) and Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL) (L) on Capitol Hill January 7, 2009 in Washington, DC. Burris, who was appointed by Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich to replace President Elect Barack Obama's Senate seat, returned to the Hill for a meeting with Democratic Senate leaders to discuss his appointment to the Senate.

    Sen. Richard Durbin said on Wednesday that he had spoken with an Illinois prosecutor and the Senate ethics committee about embattled Sen. Roland Burris.

    The Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Durbin said he met with the Senate committee at its request. He said he won't comment about Burris, his Illinois colleague and fellow Democrat.

    Durbin also said he met with John Schmidt, the Sangamon County state's attorney, last week. Schmidt is reviewing Burris' testimony before the Illinois House impeachment panel to determine if criminal charges are warranted.

    Durbin said that in both instances he talked about the events that led up to and followed Burris' appointment to the Senate.

    "Senator Burris deserves a fair and impartial investigation; the people of Illinois deserve to know the truth," Durbin said in a statement. "And everyone deserves that this matter be brought to a timely conclusion."

    Durbin's cooperation with the committee and prosecutor are the latest developments for Burris, who has vowed to stay in his Senate seat despite coming under scrutiny after new revelations about how he was appointed.

    Rod Blagojevich appointed Burris to fill President Barack Obama's former seat when he was the state's governor. Blagojevich was later impeached by the Illinois Legislature after being accused of trying to sell the seat.

    At the time of his appointment, Burris said he'd done nothing to curry favor with the governor before being nominated. Since then, though, Burris has changed his story multiple times. He has admitted that he tried to raise money for Blagojevich from his fundraising network but couldn't find any takers.

    Several top Democrats, including Durbin and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, have said that Burris should resign from the Senate.