Reid Has Conflict of Interest, Blagojevich Spokesman Says

Associated Press
Sunday, January 4, 2009

CHICAGO, Jan. 3 -- Illinois's embattled governor said through his spokesman Saturday that Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has a conflict of interest regarding the Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

Reid telephoned Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) in early December to discuss the seat, said Lucio Guerrero, a gubernatorial spokesman. Guerrero said he did not know firsthand which candidates Reid supported during the call, but added that he knows Reid's candidates did not include Roland W. Burris, the man Blagojevich picked.

Senate leaders have vowed to oppose the appointment of Burris.

"I think the governor believes there is a conflict of interest -- that Reid showed he has a horse in the race and Roland Burris wasn't one of them," Guerrero said.

In an e-mail to the Associated Press, Reid spokesman Jim Manley said the assertion that Reid has a conflict of interest was "absolutely ridiculous."

"It is part of his job as majority leader to share his thoughts about candidates who have the qualities needed to succeed in the Senate," Manley said.

Manley declined to name the candidates whom the men discussed Dec. 3, saying there was "no need to embarrass the people that were subject of the conversation."

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