Blagojevich Says Allegations Shouldn’t Reflect on Burris

Posted January 6, 2009 at 12:50pm

Embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) on Tuesday defended his pick of Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the Senate, and he urged Senate Democrats not to consider his personal troubles when weighing the former state attorney general’s appointment to the seat.

In a statement, Blagojevich said any charges against him — which include a federal complaint alleging he tried to sell Obama’s Senate seat — should not be held against Burris. Blagojevich made the remarks shortly after officials denied Burris entry into the Senate chamber during the swearing-in of newly elected and re-elected 111th lawmakers.

“The people of Illinois are entitled to be represented by two senators in the United States Senate,” Blagojevich said. “As governor, it is my duty and obligation to appoint a senator when there is a vacancy. I have done that by appointing Roland Burris, a good and decent man with a long history of public service in Illinois. Any allegations against me should not be held against him and especially not the people of Illinois.”