Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Politics

Politics

PR Appeal: One Still Standing in Burris' Corner

A former consultant hired by Illinois Sen. Roland Burris in the run-up to his being successfully seated in the U.S. Senate offered a few unsolicited words of advice on Monday to the new lawmaker -- stop taking bad advice from your new public relations team.

In a seeming advertisement for his services, Bud Jackson noted that ever since he stopped handling Burris' PR, things have gone downhill.

"Because my business is political communication, I need to let folks know that I have not been involved in the decisions that have led to the public relations fiasco over the past week," Jackson wrote in an open letter to "friends, colleagues, and members of the media."

"In fact, I actively counseled his team to take very different actions, to no avail." 

Burris has been under a cloud of suspicion since he was appointed by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich to replace President Obama in the Senate. That cloud grew more menacing last week in the wake of conflicting testimony and a follow-up affidavit by Burris to the Illinois House panel that voted to send impeachment articles to the state Senate that expelled the governor -- in part over allegations he tried to sell the seat for fundraising cash.

It turned into a political hurricane last week as the senator repeatedly tried to explain himself -- an effort a Chicago Sun-Times columnist likened to "political self-mutilation" -- and then got a visit from the FBI after saying he was approached by the governor's brother about fundraising for Blagojevich, and even sent out a few feelers to no avail.

Jackson, in his open letter, said he hasn't been taking media inquiries because that falls to Burris' new communications director, who Jackson described as "being shot out of cannon."

He also defended Burris, saying the senator has 30 years of public service and integrity and "has done nothing inappropriate despite the impression that has been left."

"I know based on my own private conversations and experience that Senator Roland Burris has been the victim of bad advice and, when set-up to fail, he certainly shall we say, has had less than adeqaute (sic) attempts to better and more clearly inform the public at a press conference, or two. It has ben painful to watch," Jackson wrote. 

Jackson told FOX News he believes Burris can survive the calls for him to resign, though it may take awhile for the full story to come out now.

"Because it's a law enforcement issue now, folks are going to have to wait," Jackson said, referring to the investigation being conducted by the Sangaman County attorney. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who led the Senate effort to prevent Burris' appointment and later relented and gave the green light, said Burris' fate is in the hands of the state and the Senate ethics panel reviewing a complaint issued by a government watchdog group.

"Senator Burris is a United States senator. He, as I read and as I understand, they're talking. They're investigating this on the state level in Springfield. ... The Senate ethics committee is taking a look at this. He's a United States senator. I'm going to work with him to the best of my ability," he said. 

He added that the overall lack of context has inflamed media coverage. He said a crack PR team would have reminded the public and media that many of the critical statements aimed at Burris were politically, not legally or ethically, motivated. That tack would have been "the best way to do it without it evolving into a catastrophe, which it has."

"Despite what may or may not happen as a result of the mess that has been made, I stand behind my former client. To quote the movie 'Oh, Brother Where Art Thou,' Senator Burris is 'in a tight spot.' It's an unfortunate distraction for Illinois people who are most concerned about their jobs and their homes. It's not so bad if you're a Republican, a Democrat gunning for his seat or if you're trying to sell newspapers -- they all benefit by painting everything in its worst possible context," Jackson wrote in his open letter.

"So to sum it all up: it's complicated," Jackson wrote, signing off "sincerely."

FOX News' Steve Brown contributed to this report.