03/12/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Roland Burris's Big Money Backer: Businessman Loaned Burris Nearly $1.5M, Little Repaid

Roland Burris, Illinois' newest senator, likes to talk about his years of service to the people of the state and his steadfast refusal to engage in the politics of favors.

He rarely discusses one milestone in his long public career: a record $800,000 campaign loan he received in his 2002 run for governor. Nor is he quick to mention the man who made the loan, businessman Joseph Stroud, who provided most of Burris' financial support for that failed bid, $1.57 million in all.

But court documents in an obscure civil case shine light on that relationship and raise questions of how much influence flowed from such a large loan, none of which Burris has repaid.

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