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Roland Burris, Right At Home in the Senate

A house of criminals.

By Will Offensicht  |  March 5, 2009

In speaking of Mr. Obama's numerous cabinet nominees who didn't pay their taxes, the New York Times' "quote for the day" was:

I've got to own up to my mistake, which is that ultimately it's important for this administration to send a message that there aren't two sets of rules.  You know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes. [emphasis added]

- President Barack Hussein Obama

Unless Mr Obama sends some big-time Democrat tax cheats to jail, we'll know there are two sets of rules: one set for his people who don't have to pay taxes and another set for We the People who must pay taxes.

Senator Burris gives us another opportunity to find out how many sets of rules we have.  Governor "Don Blago" Blagojevich was caught conspiring to sell the Senate seat vacated when Senator Obama resigned to become President.

The US Senate warned him that they wouldn't seat anyone he nominated.  He nominated Roland Burris, who was seated after promising to tell the Senate the truth about his involvement with Governor Blagojevich.

It's now reported that Mr. Burris committed perjury when he testified before the Illinois Senate.  Contrary to his sworn testimony that he hadn't talked to Don Blago's associates, Burris was involved in the cash-for-Senate-seat scandal.  He discussed fund raising efforts with Don Blago's brother and tried to raise money for him.

When President Clinton committed perjury, his license to practice law was suspended.  Martha Stewart went to jail for lying to federal investigators.  It seems that if we have only one set of rules, Sen. Burris ought to resign, having perjured himself to both the US Senate and to the Illinois Senate.

Not so fast!  ABC News reports that Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush pointed out that rules for staying in the US Senate have been established and that Mr. Burris' perjury isn't bad enough for him to resign.

Congressman Bobby Rush says Burris has done nothing wrong. Rush also made references to other senators were who accused of wrongdoing whom Rush believes were treated lightly, including Mass. Sen. Ted Kennedy.

"There have been senators who have been drunk, drove off a bridge, people died, no outcry for their resignation" Rush said.

Congressman Rush was referring to the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident.

Congressman Rush is entirely correct.  Rules of conduct for U.S. Senate members have been established, and Sen. Burris is not even close to the line.

"Chappaquiddick Ted" shows that manslaughter while driving drunk is no reason to resign from the US Senate. If DWI/Manslaughter is no reason to resign, what's a little perjury among Democrats?  Sen. Kennedy set standards so low they can never be equaled, even by the most venal Chicago machine politician.

Many years ago, the President's wife woke him, saying, "Dear, there are criminals in the house." "I don't think so," he replied, "but there are lots of criminals in the Senate." Don't be surprised if Mr. Burris stays put - he's right at home there.