Sen. Ronald Burris was defiant today in answering criticism stemming from the FBI's release of tape recordings detailing conversations between the senator and the brother of impeached former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
"Please understand, that there was no pay to play in this or any intention of pay to play," Burris said this morning on "The John Williams Show," as reported by the Chicago Tribune. "And therefore, that should be the end of the story. The transcripts bear that out. There's no conjecture."
"Did I try to buy the seat? Never," Burris said to reporters outside of his home, according to the Associated Press. "Did I commit perjury? No."
The transcript released by the FBI shows Burris discussing raising money for Blagojevich while also asking to be considered for the Senate seat to which he was later appointed. Burris initially insisted that he did not have conversations concerning fundraising with the former governor's office, though his story has since changed.
The conversation between the senator and Rob Blagojevich did not include any specific quid pro quo arrangements, and Burris argued that the tapes exonerate him. During the recorded conversation, Burris is recorded promising to "personally do something" and pressing to be appointed to Barack Obama's former Senate seat.
"Tell Rod to keep me in mind for that seat, would ya?," Burris says at the end of conversation. Earlier, he offers to "give [Blagojevich] a check, myself."
Burris appeared irritated, if not offended, by scrutiny from reporters this morning. "If you look at the transcript you can see what I was saying because I was torn because I've always helped the governor," he said. "I didn't know anything about the pay-to-play and also knew that if I gave any contribution or raise any money then that would be a problem."
As he has before, Burris insisted today he has never been dishonest, and said he should be judged based on his "consistency" and "integrity."