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Blagojevich names Senate pick for Obama seat

 Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich announces his choice of former Ill. Attorney General Roland Burris to fill President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. Senate s...
 Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich announces his choice of former Ill. Attorney General Roland Burris to fill President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. Senate s...

Illinois Governor

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich announces his choice of former Ill. Attorney General Roland Burris to fill President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. Senate s...

APTOPIX Illinois Governor

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich announces his choice of former Ill. Attorney General Roland Burris to fill President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. Senate s...

Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday appointed a former state attorney general to fill President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat, which the governor had been accused of trying to sell. Senate and state officials say they won't approve his choice.
Blagojevich, who faces corruption charges and is resisting pressure to step down, praised the 71-year-old Roland Burris' integrity and asked that the corruption allegations don't "taint this good and honest man."
"The people of Illinois are entitled to have two United States senators represent them in Washington D.C.," Blagojevich said. "As governor I am required to make this appointment."
Burris was the first African-American elected to major statewide office in Illinois. He's served as Illinois' comptroller and ran for governor three times _ the last time losing to Blagojevich. The 100-seat U.S. Senate does not have any black members now that Obama has resigned his seat.
Burris, standing at the governor's side Tuesday, said he's eager to get to work in Washington. He said he has no connection to the charges against Blagojevich, who was arrested on Dec. 9 and accused of trying to profit from appointing Obama's replacement.
The Democratic governor's announcement as Burris as his pick may be an empty gesture. Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, who must certify the appointment, said Tuesday he will not do so. And U.S. Senate leaders reiterated that they wouldn't accept anyone appointed by Blagojevich, who was arrested Dec. 9 on federal corruption charges.
In a statement Tuesday, Senate Democrats maintained that Blagojevich should not make the appointment because it is unfair to Burris, unfair to the people of Illinois and ultimately won't stand.
"It is truly regrettable that despite requests from all 50 Democratic Senators and public officials throughout Illinois, Gov. Blagojevich would take the imprudent step of appointing someone to the United States Senate who would serve under a shadow and be plagued by questions of impropriety," the statement said.
"Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus."
One of the accusations brought against Blagojevich is that he schemed to benefit from his power to name Obama's replacement in the Senate. Federal prosecutors said they recorded conversations in which Blagojevich discussed appointing someone Obama favored in exchange for a position in the new president's Cabinet or naming someone favored by a union if he got a high-level union job.
Blagojevich has faced a flood of calls for his resignation, and the Illinois House has begun impeachment proceedings. He maintains his innocence, and has vowed to stay in office.
His own lawyer said recently that there would be no point in Blagojevich naming someone to the Senate because leaders there would reject his appointment.
White, who handles the state's paperwork, said he would not formally certify any appointment made by Blagojevich "because of the current cloud of controversy surround the governor."
It's not clear whether White's administrative hurdle would be enough to prevent a Blagojevich appointment from taking effect.
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Associated Press writers Anne Flaherty, Laurie Kellman and Matt Apuzzo contributed to this report from Washington.


Updated : 2021-05-14 00:18 GMT+08:00