If Roland Burris wants to retain one shred of dignity, he needs to resign the U.S. Senate seat he coveted so much he groveled before embattled Rod Blagojevich.

If Roland Burris wants to retain one shred of dignity, he needs to resign the U.S. Senate seat he coveted so much he groveled before embattled Rod Blagojevich.

Burris should have known that you can’t stay clean if you wallow in the mud with the likes of the former governor, but he blissfully sought to become a senator so that another accomplishment could be carved on his tombstone. Pathetic.

On Tuesday we said we doubted Burris would heed calls to resign, but now the chorus has become so loud, we don’t know how he can ignore it.

“Our state and its citizens deserve the whole truth, not bits and pieces only when it is convenient,” U.S. Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill., said Wednesday. He was one of the members of Burris’ own political party telling Burris he needs to step down.

If he doesn’t leave voluntarily, there’s a good chance he’ll be forced out. The U.S. Senate Ethics Committee has begun an inquiry, and prosecutors in Springfield have been asked to look into perjury charges because of conflicting testimony Burris provided during the Blagojevich impeachment process.

Burris continues to act as if he doesn’t have a clue about what’s happening or how he’s perceived. If he were smart, he wouldn’t have accepted the appointment from Blagojevich in the first place.

Burris obviously forgot how harsh the spotlight can be and how uncomfortable questions can become when you say yes to a man who, as prosecutors said, was in the midst of a “corruption crime spree.”

He needs to move on before the late-night comics make a bigger mockery of Illinois than they already have. Burris has embarrassed Illinoisans as effectively as Blagojevich has. They’ve become the comedy team we don’t think is funny.

But we see no signs Burris knows what he must do. He canceled his Thursday “listening tour” trip to Rockford because of all the allegations surrounding him. He’s holding private meetings instead. A lot of good that does the state. The only way private meetings would help is if the people he’s meeting with talk him into resigning.

He’s not talking to the media either, which is no surprise considering how difficult it was to reach him even before the latest controversy erupted.

Yet he insists he tried to be “transparent” in the process. Please.

After saying he had no contact with the governor or his staff about the Senate seat, he changed his story and told reporters on Monday that Blagojevich’s brother, Robert, called him before Obama’s election asking him to raise $10,000 or $15,000 for the governor.

Burris thinks he did nothing wrong because none of the people he contacted would donate money for Blagojevich and he didn’t have a fundraiser for the former governor.

“If I had done the things I’ve been accused of, I would be too embarrassed to stand up here in front of you because you all are my friends,” Burris said Wednesday at a City Club of Chicago luncheon.

He’s not too embarrassed to continue this charade.

Burris, the first African-American elected to major statewide office, has a history of public service untainted by scandal. If he had rejected Blagojevich’s offer of a Senate seat, that’s how Burris would be remembered. Instead, we’re left to wonder how deep he was in the corruption pool.

He can still climb out of the cesspool, do the right thing and resign.

Rockford Register Star