Burris Invites Senate Ethics Investigation (WATCH)

U.S. Sen. Roland Burris said Tuesday that he is open to a Senate ethics investigation into how he came to be appointed by impeached former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

"I have made an effort to be as transparent as I can, and I'm willing to take a further step as I have nothing to hide," Burris said in a prepared statement to reporters in Peoria.

"I welcome the opportunity to go before any and all investigative bodies, including those referred by Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan and the Senate Ethics Committee to answer any questions they have."


Burris said an aide contacted Sangomon County State's Attorney John Schmidt, who is reviewing the testimony Burris gave to the House impeachment committee. Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's office forwarded Burris documents to Schmidt as part of a possible perjury investigation. However, Madigan will not reconvene the impeachment committee to hear additional testimony from Burris, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Backstory on the perjury allegations, from the AP:

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- U.S. Sen. Roland Burris has acknowledged trying to raise money for ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich before being appointed to the Senate.

According to a transcript posted on the Chicago Tribune's Web site, Burris told reporters Monday night in Peoria that after the ex-governor's brother called him, he talked to some friends about putting together a fundraiser.

Burris says he told Rob Blagojevich shortly after the November election that he couldn't get anyone to contribute.

Burris testified to a committee that recommended impeaching the governor that he had told only one Blagojevich associate he was interested in being senator and never offered anything in return.

But he released an affidavit over the weekend indicating he had spoken to four others, and that he was asked for fundraising help.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has given prosecutors Burris' testimony before a House impeachment committee.

Burris told the committee that ultimately impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich that he hadn't had contact with key Blagojevich staffers or offered anything in return for his Senate appointment.

But in an affidavit released last weekend, Burris said the governor's brother had asked him for fundraising help. Although Burris says he denied the request, his admission raised questions about whether he committed perjury.

Madigan on Tuesday released a letter to Sangamon County State's Attorney John Schmidt indicating he was referring a transcript of Burris' testimony and two affidavits Burris submitted.

Schmidt hasn't returned a call seeking comment.