Roland Burris has gone from being a 'tainted appointment' on Sunday in the eyes of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to holding a positive meeting with Reid and Majority Whip Dick Durbin on Wednesday.
Burris, a former Illinois attorney general, had been appointed by embattled state governor Rod Blagojevich in late December, raising an outcry from Washington's Democratic Senators.
As recently as last Sunday, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada was opposed to the Burris appointment. Blagojevich is under a criminal investigation for public corruption, including allegations that he attempted to sell the senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
President-elect Obama agreed with us that Mr. Burris is tainted, not as a result of anything that he's done wrong, Reid said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday. There's - I don't know a thing wrong with Mr. Burris. It's not the person that has been appointed; it's the appointee. ... There is a cloud over Blagojevich, and at this stage, a cloud over the state of Illinois. ... And if, as long as Blagojevich has done the appointing, it's really a tainted appointment.
On Tuesday, Burris attempted to enter the Senate but was denied entry. The rejection was based on Burris' failure to receive an appointment certificate from the Illinois Secretary of State Jerry White. The secretary had been opposed to certifying the pick, citing the ongoing investigation into Blagojevich by prosecutors and a state legislative panel which seeks evidence to impeach the governor.
After a 45 minute meeting with Reid and Durbin, Burris was upbeat about his chances of being seated as the next senator from Illinois.
I'm very pleased this afternoon. I'm happy. ... Very shortly, I will have the opportunity to do that as a junior senator from the fifth-largest state in this great country of ours. Isn't it great?, he told reporters, according to CNN.
Burris said he expects resolution of the remaining issues soon.
Those issues include a state lawsuit where Burris is suing White, asking the court to force him to issue the certificate. Burris is also scheduled to testify at the legislative panel investigating.
We believe what he's going to do tomorrow afternoon is very important, Reid told reporters. We believe the court decision is very important until we move to the next step.
Finally Reid mentioned that a Senate Rules and Administration Committee wil also need to review this election dispute and decide whether to recommend Burris for the Senate.
There are number of efforts that we are going to undertake, one of which would be to send to the Rules Committee, but there is going to come a time when the entire Senate is going to have to act on this, Reid said. That day I hope will come sooner rather than later.