Monday, February 16, 2009

bad questioning will let Burris off hook

I think Roland Burris intended to mislead the Illinois house impeachment committee.

Yet it is clear that the important questions were compound, imprecise, and not clear.

Also, Burris gave vague and evasive answers that today can be taken to mean something that at the time were understood to me something else.

Burris should have been asked about talking to each individual person, and then the questioner should have waited for an answer.

He should have been asked whether he was solicited for donations? If yes, when?
He should have been asked whether he was asked to facilitate donations from others? If yes when?

He should have been asked whether anyone spoke with him about giving money to any person in any context in relation to the Senate Seat?
He should have been asked whether he has done business or had any substantial contact with anyone associated with the governor?

Each and everytime there should have been clarity, no doubt left, no wiggle room.

But as you can see from below, while logic tells one story, the facts are not clear.

We need to start demanding public officials live by a higher standard than trying to avoid disclosing the full and complete truth (even if technically true). It is not enough to only the liveby the letter of the law, but by the spirit of the law.
January 8, 2009 testimony

Roland Burris, then a U.S. Senate nominee, testified before an Illinois House impeachment panel on Jan. 8. Here is part of that testimony:Rep. Jim Durkin: Prior to his arrest, did you have any conversations with the governor about your desire to be appointed to the seat?Roland Burris: No.Durkin: OK. Did you talk to any members of the governor's staff or anyone closely related to the governor, including with family members or any lobbyists connected with him, including oh, let me throw out some names: John Harris, Rob Blagojevich, Doug Scofield, Bob Greenlee, Lon Monk, John Wyma? Did you talk to anybody who was associated with the governor about your desire to seek the appointment prior to the governor's arrest?

Burris (again confers with attorney and says): I recall having a meeting with Lon Monk about my partner and I trying to get continued business and I did bring it up, it must have been in September-maybe it was in July of '08 and you know, 'If your close to the governor, well let him know that I will feel certainly interested in the seat.'"Durkin: OK.(Later in the hearing)Durkin: At any time were you directly or indirectly aware of a quid pro quo with the governor for the appointment of this vacant Senate seat?Burris: No sir.Durkin: Ok. If you were aware of a quid pro quo, what would you have done?(Burris's lawyer calls it a hypothetical question and inappropriate. Durkin calls it "highly relevant" and what his response would have been. Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) says his response to something that did not occur was "irrelevant" and "speculative." Durkin says its "germane" to the hearing and a "reasonable request" of what he would have done. Burris' lawyer says Burris will respond because he wants to be "clear and open.")Burris: Rep. Durkin, knowing my ethics, I would not participate in anybody's quid pro quo. I've been in government for 20 years and never participated in anybody's quid pro quo.Durkin: I guess the point is, would you have gone to the federal authorities if you were aware of that?Burris: I have no response to that.

No comments: