Blago gave Burris’ son housing job despite IRS tax actions
posted at 2:35 pm on February 26, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
The rabbit hole just got a little deeper in Chicago for Roland Burris and the Democrats. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Rod Blagojevich gave Roland Burris II a job as senior counsel for the state housing department, just weeks after the IRS slapped a $34,000 lien for non-payment on his own house:
The son of embattled Sen. Roland Burris is a federal tax deadbeat who landed a $75,000-a-year state job under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich five months ago, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.
Blagojevich’s administration hired Roland W. Burris II as a senior counsel for the state’s housing authority Sept. 10 — about six weeks after the Internal Revenue Service slapped a $34,163 tax lien on Burris II and three weeks after a mortgage company filed a foreclosure suit on his South Side house.
A spokeswoman for the Illinois Housing Development Authority indicated Wednesday there was nothing improper about Burris II’s employment by the agency, whose mission includes overseeing mortgage programs for low-income home buyers and anti-foreclosure initiatives.
Burris II’s hiring, however, raises more questions about Sen. Burris’ interactions with Blagojevich and his inner circle at a time when the governor was soliciting Sen. Burris for campaign contributions and Burris was angling to have Blagojevich appoint him to the Senate seat once held by President Obama.
The hiring itself raises questions about Blagojevich first. Why did the impeached and removed governor appoint as senior counsel to the housing authority when his own house was in default? Competence and experience obviously made little difference; this looks very clearly like a patronage hire to keep Burris pére as a political ally.
That brings us to Burris himself. According to what we know about the investigation into Blagojevich’s attempts to sell the seat, the feds began tracking efforts back to the summer of 2008. Did Blagojevich give Burris fils the patronage job to mollify Roland Burris for not getting the Senate appointment? Or was this a down payment on more benefits to come if Burris could raise funds for Blagojevich?
And why, exactly, did Burris neglect to mention this particular Blagojevich connection?
Of course, if Burris II pays his 2005 mortgage, it’s no big deal, right? Unfortunately, he’s paid only $3,000 on a $300K mortgage in three years. How did Burris II remain in his house for this long?