John Conyers, the 88-year old Democrat Congressman and Black Caucus member who used taxpayer dollars from one of the most impoverished districts in Michigan, to pay off accusers of sexual assault, is refusing to give up the power he’s become accustomed to, as the longest sitting House member in America’s history. The corrupt Congressman has, however, agreed to step down from his role on the House Judiciary Committee, pending an investigation into the multiple allegations of sexual harassment that have been levied against him.
In a statement released through Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office on Sunday, Conyers said he would like to keep his leadership position but realized that he may “undermine” the committee’s work if he stays at the helm.
“I have come to believe that my presence as Ranking Member on the Committee would not serve these efforts while the Ethics Committee investigation is pending,” Conyers (D-Detroit) said in the statement. “I cannot in good conscience allow these charges to undermine my colleagues in the Democratic Caucus, and my friends on both sides of the aisle in the Judiciary Committee and the House of Representatives.”
Conyers, 88, is the longest-serving House member. BuzzFeed reported last week the contents of the secret $27,000 settlement Conyers paid with taxpayer funds to a former staffer who said she was fired for rejecting Conyers’ sexual advances.
Conyers has admitted to the payment but denied any wrongdoing.
“I deny these allegations, many of which were raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger,” Conyers said, referring to the settlement papers obtained by Mike Cernovich and passed along to the news site. “I very much look forward to vindicating myself and my family before the House Committee on Ethics.”
With Conyers stepping aside, the next most senior Democrat — New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler – will become acting Ranking Member of the powerful committee.
“Even under these unfortunate circumstances, the important work of the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee must move forward,” Nadler said in a Sunday statement. “I will do everything in my power to continue to press on the important issues facing our committee, including criminal justice reform, workplace equality, and holding the Trump Administration accountable.”
Nadler added: “Ranking Member Conyers has a 50 year legacy of advancing the cause of justice, and my job moving forward is to continue that critical work.”
New York Rep. Kathleen Rice was the first House Democrat last week to call for Conyers’ resignation from Congress, and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens) said Conyers should at least give up his perch as the House Judiciary Committee’s ranking member, pending the outcome of the ethics probe.
Earlier Sunday, Pelosi defended Conyers on NBC’s “Meet the Press” by not calling for his resignation and insisting the “icon” deserves due process. –NYP