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Secretary Of The Senate Explains Why Burris Wasn't Seated

The office of the Secretary of the Senate, Nancy Erickson, released a statement this afternoon explaining why she refused to seat Roland Burris, who came to Washington hoping to replace Barack Obama as the junior senator from Illinois for the 111th Congress.

According to her office, Erickson refused to seat Burris, who was appointed to the seat by embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, because he lacked the necessary signature of the Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White, and the state seal of Illinois.

"On Tuesday, January 6, 2009, the Secretary had a very cordial meeting in her office with Mr. Burris, his counsel and staff during which the Secretary explained to Mr. Burris and his counsel directly the reasons that his certificate did not comply with Senate Rule II," Erickson's office said. "Additionally, as the decision of whom to seat as a Senator is a decision of the Senate, Mr. Burris was advised that the Senate could refer the matter to the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration."

Read the full statement from Erickson's office below:

"On Monday, January 5, 2009, the Secretary of the Senate, Nancy Erickson, met with Clayton Harris, Chief of Staff to Governor Blagojevich, who presented Mrs. Erickson with a Certificate of Appointment for Roland Burris to fill the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. The certificate did not comply with Senate Rule II in that it lacked both the signature of the Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White, and the Seal of the State of Illinois. Mr. Harris was informed of these deficiencies, and, as is our procedure, the Secretary retained the certificate and all supporting materials on behalf of the Senate.

"On Tuesday, January 6, 2009, the Secretary had a very cordial meeting in her office with Mr. Burris, his counsel and staff during which the Secretary explained to Mr. Burris and his counsel directly the reasons that his certificate did not comply with Senate Rule II. Additionally, as the decision of whom to seat as a Senator is a decision of the Senate, Mr. Burris was advised that the Senate could refer the matter to the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. Following the brief and amicable meeting about the Senate Rules and an opportunity for photos, Mr. Burris and his counsel remained in the Secretary's office to hold a meeting of their own."

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