Roland Burris is not controversial.”

So said Roland Burris before he became Sen. Burris (D-Ill.). But it wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true now.

He came to the Senate wrapped in controversy, because of his appointment by the disgraced, now-former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D).

He’s wrapped in controversy again now because he admits he was asked for a $10,000 contribution by Blago’s brother — even though he didn’t make one. And he tried to raise money for Blago from his friends — even though he couldn’t find anybody who would contribute.

Did Burris tell the whole truth when he should have? No.

Did he lie about it under oath? Maybe not, but he sure gave a slippery answer.

So should he be forced to resign, or expelled from the Senate? No way.

Sure, Burris’s showed bad judgment in not immediately revealing his contacts with Blagojevich’s brother, nor his failed efforts to line up contributions to the former governor. But he wrote no check. He raised not a dime. He committed no crime.

And, no matter how unethical his conduct, at least he didn’t solicit sex from an undercover cop in an airport men’s room, nor make phone calls to prostitutes from the Senate floor. One of those Republican senators is still in office, while the other was allowed to complete his term and retire.

Because of his connection with Blagojevich, Burris has already ruined any chances he might have had for reelection. He’ll be out of the Senate in 2010. He should be granted the same exit strategy Larry Craig was. There’s no need to throw him under the bus.


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