Despite Burris Circus, Illinois Has Plenty Of Clout in Washington

Sen. Roland Burris faces calls for his resignation and tense relations with some of his Washington colleagues, but that shouldn't keep him from performing most of a senator's duties.

The Chicago Democrat still gets to vote and serve on committees. He can still help constituents cut through government red tape. And experts say he'll probably be able to get money for Illinois projects.

Former senator Peter Fitzgerald says if Burris is weakened by the controversy, it's on contentious national issues. If Burris introduced legislation on gun control, for instance, he probably wouldn't be an effective advocate for his bill.

Even if Burris faces roadblocks, Illinois still has plenty of clout in Washington. The president, White House chief of staff and the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate are all from Illinois.

Burris is under pressure to resign because he didn't give a complete account of his contacts with Rod Blagojevich before the disgraced former governor appointed him to the Senate.

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