Burris Blames Panel for His Incomplete Answers
Lawmakers changed subject, didn't ask follow-ups, Burris contends
U.S. Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill, listens during a meeting with local school officials at the Keil Building Wednesday, May 27, 2009, in Decatur, Ill. Burris on Wednesday, denied new allegations of a pay-to-play scheme as newly revealed wiretaps showed him begging for his Senate seat and offering to donate to the campaign of Rod Blagojevich. (AP Photo/ Decatur Herald & Review, Stephen Haas)
Updated at 4:04 PM CST on Thursday, May 28, 2009
Sen. Roland Burris says it wasn't his duty to tell a legislative committee about his conversation with the former governor's brother if lawmakers failed to ask the right questions.
Burris said Thursday he responded to all the questions he was asked. He says lawmakers changed the subject before he could give a complete answer and did not ask follow-ups.
"You all have got it backwards," Burris told reporters. "It is not upon a person who is testifying to go out of his way on anything. It is the person who has to ask the questions."
The Chicago Democrat testified in January to a special Illinois House committee about how he was appointed to the U.S. Senate by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
"There was nothing legal ... personal ... or political exhanged in return for my appointment to this seat," Burris said in January. "Absolutely, positively not."
Burris did not reveal that he had talked to the governor's brother about the appointment and whether he would help raise campaign money for Blagojevich.
Details of that conversation came out Wednesday with the release of a recording of the phone call.
The junior senator -- who swore off speaking with the media three months ago -- took shots at the Fourth Estate and his colleague, Sen. Dick Durbin.
Transcript of Nov. 13, 2008 Conversation Between Burris, Rob Blagojevich | Audio of Conversation
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