Burris appeals for an end to 'rush to judgment'

On Tuesday, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan sent Burris' conflicting Jan. 8 impeachment committee testimony and affidavits dated Jan. 5 and Feb. 4 to State's Attorney John Schmidt in Sangamon County, which includes Springfield, the state capital. The matter "is under review," Schmidt said in a statement.

Burris, a Democrat and former Illinois attorney general, said Tuesday that he welcomes "the opportunity to go before any and all investigative bodies." He has denied any wrongdoing.

Jim Manley, spokesman for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday that Reid "supports Sen. Burris' decision to cooperate with all appropriate officials who may review this matter, including state agencies and the Senate Ethics Committee."

Whenever "allegations of improper conduct" are brought to the Ethics Committee, "we open a preliminary inquiry," said Natalie Ravitz, spokeswoman for Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group, called for a U.S. Senate inquiry. "The evidence suggests Sen. Burris lied under oath," Executive Director Melanie Sloan said.

State Rep. Roger Eddy, a Republican, said people are fed up with scandals. "This seat is tainted enough. The people of Illinois have gone through enough," he said. Burris "needs to step aside."

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