1. What did Sen. Burris say and when did he say it? Sen. Burris has stated under oath that he did not discuss fundraising with Gov. Blago or anyone in his behalf prior to his appointment to the Senate by the Governor. He made that statement in a sworn affidavit, on January 5th 2009, ten days before he was sworn into his seat in the Senate. A month later, on February 4th 2009, he submitted another sworn affidavit in which he related that he did discuss making financial contributions to the Governor with the Governor's brother in a telephone conversation. Indeed, then-Mr. Burris did discuss making campaign or PAC contributions to the Governor in a conversation with the Governor's brother on November 13th 2009. He also discussed making campaign contributions in someone else's name, so as to disguise his involvement. The contributions were never made.
2. What kind of trouble is Sen. Burris in? Neither discussing campaign or PAC contributions nor offering to make them is a crime under federal or IL law. However, making contributions in someone else's name, as well as lying under oath about any material matter is a crime. Thus, Sen. Burris could be prosecuted for conspiracy to violate IL campaign laws or for perjury by IL state prosecutors. He could also be expelled from the Senate. Neither is likely. Almost all politicians understand the so-called pay-for-play concept in which lawful contributions are made to political campaigns in return for lawful decisions by the recipient. As for perjury, Sen. Burris now contends that he was duping the Governor's brother when he said what he said. Expulsion from the Senate is unlikely for an act performed before a Senator was sworn in. Were this not the case, few senators would be safe in their seats.