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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Senatorial Embarrassments: Coleman and Burris

From the Hartford Courant Op Ed Page
Burris, Coleman: Senatorial Embarrassments
February 28, 2009

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday once again asked recently appointed U.S. Sen. Roland Burris to step down because he can no longer effectively serve his state. Just a few days before, Illinois' senior senator, Richard Durbin, made the same request. But the stubborn Mr. Burris, appointed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich shortly before he was impeached, won't budge.

Despite understandable misgivings about the appointment by a corrupt governor, the Senate seated Mr. Burris, a Democrat, in January. We supported that decision because it appeared the appointee had a scandal-free public record. But now it appears that Mr. Burris misled the Illinois legislature's impeachment committee about his contacts with the indicted governor's political operatives before he received the appointment. He agreed to raise money for Mr. Blagojevich, which can only be seen as a quid pro quo for his ticket to Washington.

Prosecutors should investigate whether Mr. Burris perjured himself in testifying to the impeachment committee. He should resign his Senate seat. The Blagojevich-Burris sore on the body politic is slow to heal. It hurts Illinois and the nation.

In Minnesota, Sen. Norm Coleman, a Republican, appeared to have won by a couple of hundred votes when ballots were tallied after the November election. He warned challenger Al Franken not to ask for a recount because it would be too costly for taxpayers. Mr. Franken did anyway, and appears to have won the recount by some 225 votes.

Mr. Coleman, hypocritically, hired an army of lawyers and is challenging almost every ruling by election officials and the courts. He's losing on almost every challenge. The Republican incumbent says he'll keep appealing no matter what state election officials and the lower courts say.

Mr. Coleman has dragged out the vote counting, denying Minnesota full representation in the Senate for almost four months. Accept the voters' judgment, Mr. Coleman, no matter how close it may be, and send your lawyers home.