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Burris Adds Staff, Signals Plans to Stay

In a sign that he has no plans to step down anytime soon, Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) announced today that he has staffed up his office with a new interim chief of staff and communications director. The hiring announcement comes one day after Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) advised Burris, his seat mate, to step down from his post. Burris dismissed Durbin’s advice following a private meeting between the two lawmakers and has maintained that he will fill out the remainder of his appointed term through 2010. Burris has come under fire in recent days as details became public about how he secured his appointment to the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama. Burris acknowledged last week that he had more contact with associates of disgraced, and now impeached, Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) than he previously had revealed. Blagojevich, who appointed Burris, was forced out of office amid federal charges that he attempted to sell the open seat for political favors. The drama surrounding Burris led his last interim chief of staff, Darrel Thompson, to step down last week. Thompson was on detail from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) office, and has since returned to Reid’s shop. To replace him, Burris has hired Brady King to serve as his interim chief, with Jim O’Connor filling the role of communications director.

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