06/26/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Roland Burris, Off The Hook

I've just read the U.S. Attorney's filings Tuesday, asking to send along a recording of a telephone call the government says our junior senator had with the brother of our impeached former governor. It's a bit of information the Senate Ethics Committee might find interesting.

I've followed Roland Burris his entire political career and covered him while he was Illinois Attorney General and during his gubernatorial campaign in 1994.

I've always thought of Roland Burris, as he likes to call himself, as basically an honorable man.

Until today.

Even through the post-appointment revelations, I was still still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I thought, seriously, 'Here is a nice man who is out of his depth and it's probably not as bad as it seems.'

Well, I was wrong, and I sadly admit to being wrong.

What we hear here is damning and damnable. Burris knows exactly what he is doing. All these years I thought he was decent but dim. Turns out it was an act that I, and many others in Illinois, bought.

There may or may not be anything legally actionable in the footsie Burris plays with Rob Blagojevich in wondering how to raise the money the brothers Blagojevich wanted and still make it look as though he wasn't buying his way into the U.S. Senate, but it's morally and ethically repugnant. The fact that he audibly works through this amoral relativism is damning enough. Harry Reid and Dick Durbin had it right the first time, before this evidence was public: He is unfit.

Burris is a disgrace and should resign. We know, however, that he won't.

But how he will ever be able to look a single citizen of the state of Illinois in the eye and proclaim that he isn't dirty is unfathomable.

I thank Patrick Fitzgerald for having the tenacity to tap these phone lines. And I thank the timing of the release of this transcript.

The Illinois General Assembly is in the end-of-session throes of deciding what to do about the recommendations of the Illinois Reform Commission appointed by Gov. Patrick Quinn.

Seeing this now makes it all the more imperative that legislators act on the pure recommendations sent up by commission chief Patrick Collins and his fellow commission members.