Black Pastors to Ask Burris to Resign

AP, February 19, 2009

A group of black ministers who supported U.S. Sen. Roland Burris as he fought to get his job now plan to ask for his resignation following revelations that he tried to raise money for the disgraced governor who appointed him, one of the ministers told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Many of the city’s influential black pastors supported Burris because of his scandal-free reputation–even though he was appointed by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich three weeks after the governor was arrested for allegedly trying to sell the Senate seat.

Now some of those pastors will ask Burris to resign, according to the minister, who spoke on condition of anonymity because a meeting with Burris had not yet been scheduled.

Burris testified before an Illinois House committee in January that he hadn’t had contact with key Blagojevich staffers or offered anything in return for the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.

Last weekend, however, Burris released an affidavit saying he had spoken to several Blagojevich advisers, including Robert Blagojevich, the former governor’s brother and finance chairman, who Burris said called three times last fall asking for fundraising help. Burris changed his story again this week when he admitted trying, unsuccessfully, to raise money for Blagojevich.

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Burris is, like Obama was, the only black U.S. senator. Blacks were among his biggest defenders as Burris overcame Senate leaders’ resistance to admitting a senator appointed by a man charged with trying to sell the office.

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