Opinion: More entertaining Sen. Burris news, this time on son Burris II
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Not an all-around awful day for Democratic Sen. Roland Burris of Illinois.
Just terrible this time.
As you may have heard, the legally embattled junior Illinois senator replacement for Barack Obama, who was maneuvered into that job by the wily but also legally embattled now ex-Democratic governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, has refused to resign after an unfolding series of revelations about his relationship, fundraising and contacts with/for the impeached governor and his staff.
Now comes one more revelation, the kind of news that causes immune Illinois voters to say, ‘So?’
It seems, according to an investigation by the Chicago Sun-Times, that Blagojevich’s state government hired the son of Roland Burris last fall as the senior counsel for the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
It’s a $75,000-a-year job that oversees the authority’s foreclosure actions. His name, appropriately enough, is Roland Burris II.
The son got the state job Sept. 10, right around the time his father says he contacted Blagojevich to express an interest in the anticipated vacant Senate seat.
But there’s another problem. Actually two. Burris II started the foreclosure enforcement job three weeks after his own mortgage company started foreclosure against him. And, the newspaper reports, a couple of weeks before that, the Internal Revenue Service placed a $34,163 tax lien on Burris II’s house for back taxes from 2004 to 2007.
Illinois’ new governor, Pat Quinn, also a Democrat, of course said Thursday that there’s no proof of wrongdoing. He’s right, of course. There are an amazing number of coincidences like that in Illinois.
And in the Illinois machine’s culture, who wouldn’t hire the financially troubled son of a fellow Democrat whom you want to raise campaign funds for you? It’s the least a governor could do to benefit the veteran Burris -- and himself. Win-win.
But Gov. Quinn thinks he’ll have someone investigate the situation anyway. Which means he intends to run for governor next year.
Good thing the Internal Revenue Service is now overseen by Timothy Geithner, who now works for Obama and understandsinadvertent tax mistakes that last for years. Otherwise, the son of the Democratic senator could be in real tax trouble.
-- Andrew Malcolm