Alleged felon Rod Blagojevich, the best governor Illinois has right now, leaked that he will appoint former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said the Senate will refuse to seat anyone Blagojevich appoints, though it's unclear whether the Senate actually has that power.
Can't wait for the press conference ten minutes from now:
Blagojevich, who has sole authority to name a replacement senator, scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference at his downtown Chicago office.
Burris left his downtown consulting office about 1:15 p.m., getting congratulatory hugs from several employees. But Burris refused comment when asked whether he was going to accept the appointment after word that Senate Democratic leadership would not seat him.
Burris has given more than $20,000 to Blagojevich's campaign fund on his own and through his consulting and law firms, state campaign finance records show. Burris' consulting company received about $290,000 in state contracts with the Illinois Department of Transportation a few years ago, according to state comptroller records.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada previously warned Blagojevich, following the governor's Dec. 9 arrest, that Senate Democrats would not seat any appointment the two-term Democratic governor made. Reid's warning was contained in a letter signed by all 50 sitting Democratic senators, including the No. 2 Democrat in Senate leadership, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois.
So, now a reasonably intelligent person must ask—heck, even Ted Baxter must ask—why on Earth would Burris accept a nomination under these circumstances? His C.V. provides a clue:
Though he is 71, Burris has said that Obama's replacement should be able to win re-election and he has noted that despite a string of primary losses in races ranging from Chicago mayor to governor and U.S. senator, he's never lost to a Republican.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has weighed in:
White says he'll reject any paperwork that Gov. Rod Blagojevich files to name a new U.S. senator.
The secretary of state keeps state records and certifies official actions.
But White says he won't certify anything Blagojevich does to fill the Senate seat once held by President-elect Barack Obama.
White issued a statement today saying he can't accept any paperwork from Blagojevich on the Senate seat "because of the current cloud of controversy surrounding the governor."
It isn't clear if that administrative roadblock would keep the appointment from taking place.
So there you have it. No Democrat in the country, except perhaps the two most directly involved, wants this appointment to proceed. And yet, as we are a nation of laws, so we may be stuck with it.
The impeachment can't happen soon enough.