Burris Testifies Amid Illinois Governor Impeachment Moves

The special Illinois House committee investigating Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has unanimously recommended that the full House impeach Blagojevich for "abuse of power."

The committee cites a litany of corruption allegations, including the attempted sale of President-elect Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat, extortion of Children's Memorial Hospital, extortion of the Chicago Tribune, and various other "pay to play" schemes.

The Illinois House, which has been called back to a special session, will now consider impeachment as early as Friday.

If the House votes to impeach, the state Senate then would conduct a trial presided over by the chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court. That trial could begin as early as Jan. 26.

In the state Senate trial, impeachment managers and Blagojevich would have the opportunity to present witnesses and evidence.

If convicted by the Illinois Senate, Blagojevich would be removed from office and Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn would become acting governor.

Earlier Thursday, former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris told state lawmakers investigating the possible impeachment that he did not act unethically in being appointed to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Obama.

"I have been in government for 20 years and never participated in anybody's quid pro quo," Burris said.

Blagojevich was arrested Dec. 9 on corruption charges. He tapped Burris to fill the seat just after Christmas.

Burris also told the committee today that he first became interested in filling the U.S. Senate seat "around the time President-elect Obama won the Democratic primary for president."

Upon being approached to fill the seat amid the allegations involving the governor, Burris said he was "surprised" and took the weekend to think it over and consult with friends before accepting the appointment.

When asked whether Blagojevich should resign, Burris repeatedly said, "I have no authority over the governor." As he has said before, Burris told the panel that Blagojevich appointed him according to law.

Before hearing from Burris, the Illinois legislative panel released a draft report Thursday morning recommending that the state's House of Representatives vote on whether to impeach Blagojevich.

"The Special Investigative Committee for the Illinois House of Representatives, 95th General Assembly finds that the totality of the evidence warrants the impeachment of the Governor for cause," the proposed report states. "The Committee, therefore, recommends that the House consider an Article of Impeachment against the Governor."

Today Blagojevich's spokesman, Lucio Guerrero, said he did not yet have any comment on the draft report.

The panel's chairwoman, Illinois Democratic Rep. Barbara Currie of the 25th District, told ABC News that the committee wants to obtain federal wiretap recordings of Blagojevich as soon as possible, but if it can't get that additional evidence, Currie anticipates the committee will act on the draft report this afternoon.

If the committee finalizes the report, the full House will vote on the governor's impeachment.

The recommendation is the latest advance in the drama surrounding Obama's former Senate seat.

Currie told ABC News Tuesday she did not want Burris to testify but agreed to his appearance because of Republican requests.

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