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Senate Ethics Committee clears Illinois senator of legal wrongdoing

The Senate Ethics Committee admonished Sen. Roland Burris for failing to meet "a much higher standard of conduct."
The Senate Ethics Committee admonished Sen. Roland Burris for failing to meet "a much higher standard of conduct."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Burris appointed to seat in December by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich
  • Democratic leaders had urged Blagojevich to not make a Senate appointment
  • Blagojevich maintains he did not try to sell Obama's Senate seat
  • Burris cleared but admonished for failing to meet "much higher standard of conduct"
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Washington (CNN) -- The Senate Ethics Committee issued a letter Friday clearing embattled Illinois Sen. Roland Burris of any legal wrongdoing.

The committee admonished Burris, however, for failing to meet "a much higher standard of conduct."

"The committee found that you should have known that you were providing incorrect, inconsistent, misleading, or incomplete information to the public, the Senate, and those conducting legitimate inquiries into your appointment to the Senate."

Burris issued a statement saying he is "pleased that after numerous investigations, this matter has finally come to a close."

Burris, currently the only African-American U.S. senator, is serving the remaining two years of President Obama's Senate term, but he has never been embraced by his party's leaders in Illinois or on Capitol Hill.

He was appointed to the seat in December by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was later impeached, removed from office and arrested on federal corruption charges alleging that he tried to sell Obama's seat to the highest bidder.

Democratic leaders urged Blagojevich, who has maintained his innocence, not to make an appointment. He disregarded those wishes by naming Burris, a former state attorney general and state comptroller, to the seat.

Burris, for his part, was accused of perjury in connection with his testimony on Blagojevich's alleged "pay for play" scheme to fill the Senate seat. But in June, the state's attorney in Sangamon County, Illinois, said he would not charge Burris.

The state's attorney, John Schmidt, said Burris gave incomplete but truthful answers to questions about his conversations with Blagojevich's representatives.

The committee said in its letter that Burris' "shifting explanations" about his sworn statements on the matter "appear less than candid."

The state's attorney, John Schmidt, said Burris gave incomplete but truthful answers to questions about his conversations with Blagojevich's representatives.

In July, Burris said he would not run for a full six-year term in 2010.

 
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