Sen. Roland Burris' legal bills could be as high as $400,000, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet reported Thursday, citing sources in the senator's camp.
To help cover costs, Burris on Monday requested permission of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics to open a legal expense fund.
The purpose for establishing the fund, according to the filing: "to pay for expenses incurred by the Senator in connection with his appointment to the US Senate on December 30th, 2008. Due to the controversy surrounding his appointment by former Illinois Governor Rod Balgojevich, Senator Burris incurred legal expenses to support his eventual swearing in on January 15th, 2009 in both Illinois and Washington, DC."
"In addition, even after he was seated, Senator Burris has continued to require representation amid accusations of perjury and other alleged improprieties relating back to his appointment to the senate seat."
The committee's ruling on the request could take about four weeks, Burris' communications director said, adding that no money can be raised until permission is granted.