Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich ignored the cries for resignation, ignored the federal charges, ignored President-elect Barack Obama and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan pleas for him to step aside. Blagojevich took matters into his own hands and picked former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to fill Obama's seat in the US Senate.
The reaction has been swift and predictable: ill-advised and reprehensible.
Blagojevich has long maintained that he has done nothing wrong. From what is known from the federal probe, he accepted no money and had only appeared to be shaking down a number of candidates for Obama's senate seat.
The Illinois legislature took up the matter and could not come to a decision on a special election. They also never came to a decision on impeachment proceedings against the governor.
Burris, 71, a Democrat and African American, served Illinois from 1979 to 1992, first as state comptroller and later as attorney general. Earlier in December, he said that despite the scandal associated with the seat, he wanted the job.
Burris, a principal at Burris & Lebed Consulting in Chicago, would serve the remaining two years of Obama's Senate term. Burris previously ran and lost bids for the U.S. Senate and governor, losing the gubernatorial nomination once to Blagojevich.
Blagojevich said, "The people of Illinois are entitled to have two United States senators represent them in Washington, D.C. As governor, I am required to make this appointment. If I don't make this appointment, then the people of Illinois will be deprived of their appropriate voice and vote in the United States Senate."
Rep. Bobby Rush, (D-IL), who appeared at the afternoon news conference with Blagojevich and Burris, said, "There are no African-Americans in the U.S. Senate. And I don't think any U.S. senator who's sitting in the Senate right now wants to go on record to deny one African-American from being seated in the U.S. Senate. I would ask you to not hang or lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointer and separate the appointee from the appointer. Roland Burris is worthy."
plez sez: this is a freakin' mess and is exactly what Obama doesn't need out of his home state as he looks to take the oath of office in 20 days!
unfortunately, the feds, the legislature, and state attorney general were derelict in their duties to bring this whole blagojevich matter to a close in a timely manner. the feds threw some *ISH* on the wall, it didn't stick, and basically left the state of illinois with an unindicted, soiled executive with at least two congressional appointments on his desk (Sen. Barack Obama's and rep. rahm emanuel's seats).
like it or not, blago was elected to run the state of illinois, he has not been convicted of any crime, and it is his duty - by law - to fill these outstanding seats. unfortunately, the real loser in this mess is roland burris! his name and reputation are forever tied to blagojevich and any action taken by him (or on his behalf) will be sullied by being associated with blago... his best bet would be to take his seat... and then call for a special election to legitimize his appointment.
but plezWorld believes this is a good move to have this open seat filled PRIOR to the 111th congress convening in january.
Read the Chicago Sun Times article about Blago's appointment of Burris to Obama's seat.
Read the Washington Post article about Burris being appointed to Obama's seat.
Read the New York Times article about the Burris appointment to Obama's seat.
Read the CNN.com article about a defiant Blago filling Obama's seat.