On Wednesday, Illinois Sen. Roland Burris passionately spoke out against claims that he did anything unethical to persuade ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to appoint him to President Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat.
“If I had done the things I’ve been accused of, I’d be too embarrassed to stand up here in front of you,” he told reporters in Chicago. He also called for the media to stop the “rush to judgment.”
The controversy stems from an affidavit Burris filed this past weekend revealing that Blagojevich’s brother asked him to help raise money for the ex-governor, reports Fox News. In the document he says he refused the request. But on Monday, he told reporters that had asked friends to donate, but none of them did. He did not reveal any of this information during his testimony in front of lawmakers last month.
Furthermore, his critics see the two stories as a contradiction and some top Democratic officials, like Rep. Phil Hare (D-IL), are calling for him to step down.
In a statement Hare said he’s “deeply disappointed that Senator Burris hid the fact that he attempted to raise money for former Governor Blagojevich at the same time he was lobbying for an appointment to the U.S. Senate.”
Burris maintains, though, that he didn’t give the former Illinois governor any money. Blagojevich was impeached and charged with trying to sell President Obama’s Senate seat. Sen. Burris’ matter is being investigated by the Senate’s ethics committee, reports FOX News.