Burris Says He's Staying Put As Durbin Suggests He Resign

Senator Roland Burris is refusing to resign despite a suggestion from fellow Illinois senator Dick Durbin to do so. Burris also is refusing to say whether he'll run for the seat in 2010. Video by AP
By Perry Bacon Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) suggested to Sen. Roland W. Burris (D-Ill.) yesterday that he resign, but Burris told Durbin that he will not step down.

"I told him, 'If I were in your shoes, I would consider resigning,' " Durbin told reporters outside his office in the Capitol, after an afternoon meeting with Burris that lasted more than 30 minutes. "He said, 'I will not resign.' "

Burris brushed past reporters after the meeting and would not comment except to say, "It was a good meeting."

But Durbin made it clear that he would not support Burris if he ran to retain the seat next year, citing recent disclosures that Burris had spoken with several associates of then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) before his appointment to the Senate seat and tried to raise money for the since-impeached governor.

Durbin repeatedly said he was "disappointed" that Burris had not disclosed all of his contacts with Blagojevich, something Durbin and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) had mandated as a condition of the Senate seating Burris last month.

Durbin did not directly demand that Burris resign; he pledged to work with him if he remains in the Senate and said he would not press his colleagues to force Burris out. "There is a process, and he is entitled to that process," Durbin said.

And he admitted that his words may have little sway on Burris, whom he had advised not to accept the appointment from Blagojevich.

"My advice obviously doesn't move him," Durbin said.

Staff writer Peter Slevin in Chicago contributed to this report.

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