From [HERE] and [HERE] Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), facing a firestorm of abuse and sexual harassment allegations, calls from top Democrats for his job, and hospital admission, is still refusing to resign. Conyers is a Democratic Party politician and a U.S. Representative for Michigan's 13th congressional district. The district includes the western half of Detroit, as well as River Rouge, Ecorse, Redford Township, Dearborn Heights, Highland Park, Westland, Garden City, Inkster, Wayne, and Romulus. As the longest-serving active Representative, he is the Dean of the House of Representatives, as well the last remaining member of either the House or Senate that has been serving since the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson.
“Nancy Pelosi did not elect the congressman, and she sure as hell won’t be the one to tell the congressman to leave,” Conyers’ attorney, Arnold Reed, said Thursday, responding to the minority leader’s request on that Conyers step down.
Conyers was hospitalized due to stress this week. Political consultant Sam Riddle told a CNN affiliate Thursday morning that the 88-year-old was reportedly back in his home district.
The Michigan congressman is facing a handful of sexual misconduct allegations. Two women have come forward publicly to say Conyers abused or harassed them while they worked for him. Another woman says she settled a wrongful dismissal claim with the congressman after she was fired. The woman claims she was terminated because she rejected Conyers’ advances.
In 2015, a former employee of Conyers alleged that he had sexually harassed her. Her affidavit was filed with the Congressional Office of Compliance and she was, with public funds, allegedly paid a settlement of $27,000. BuzzFeed reported on this settlement on November 20, 2017, including accounts of other ethical concerns associated with Conyers's office such as sexual harassment of other female staffers. Conyers responded to these reports, saying, "In our country, we strive to honor this fundamental principle that all are entitled to due process. In this case, I expressly and vehemently denied the allegations made against me, and continue to do so. My office resolved the allegations — with an express denial of liability — in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation."
Four other women signed affidavits saying that Conyers had sexually harassed them as well.
On November 21, 2017, the House Ethics Committee launched an investigation into multiple sexual harassment allegations against Conyers.
In Washington, calls for Conyers to resign have since begun to grow.
“Congressman Conyers should resign,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference Thursday morning, a far cry from her earlier remarks in which she defended Conyers during a Meet the Press interview, calling him “an icon.” On Monday, Pelosi met with one of the women, Melanie Sloan, who says Conyers abused her; the minority leader subsequently released a statement saying she found Sloan credible.
Reporters were so shocked by Pelosi’s sudden reversal on Thursday that one asked her to clarify if she had in fact called on Conyers to resign.
Pelosi joins several other Democrats in calling for Conyers’ job: Reps. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) and Black Ho-Rep, Jim Clyburn (D-SC) have also urged Conyers to step down.
“I think he should do for his constituents what he did for his colleagues,” Clyburn told reporters, referring to Conyers’ decision to step aside as the ranking member on the powerful House Judiciary Committee. “I told him [resigning from Congress] would be in his best interest.”
The first member from Conyers’ state, Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI), joined those calls Thursday afternoon as well.
However, one Democratic House aide told ThinkProgress he felt the calls for Conyers’ resignation Thursday were irresponsible. Instead, Democrats should be fighting the Republicans’ “ponzi scheme”, which would “destroy” lives and “cripple” social safety net programs, he said.
“Democratic circular firing squad in full effect,” the aid said in a text message. “Absolutely ridiculous. Seriously… We’re gonna fuck around and the tax bill is gonna pass next week.”
Conyers isn’t the only congressional Democrat facing a firestorm of sexual harassment allegations. As of Thursday afternoon, six women have come forward accusing Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) of sexual harassment. On Thursday, Jezebel reported that a that Franken had attempted to give a former elected official in New England a “wet, open-mouthed kiss” onstage at an event in 2006. The woman told Jezebel she was “stunned and incredulous.”
Neither Pelosi nor Democratic leadership in the Senate have called for Franken to resign, something that’s angered Conyers’ lawyers.
“I would suspect that Nancy Pelosi is going to have to explain what is the discernible difference between Al Franken and John Conyers,” Reed, Conyers’ attorney, told reporters on Thursday.
In May, 2005, Conyers released What Went Wrong In Ohio: The Conyers Report On The 2004 Presidential Election, which dealt with the voting irregularities in the state of Ohio during the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election. The evidence offered consists of statistical abnormalities in the differences between exit poll results and actual votes registered at those locations. The book also discusses reports of faulty electronic voting machines and the lack of credibility of those machines used to tally votes.
On August 4, 2006, Conyers released his report, The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retributions and Cover-ups in the Iraq War, an edited collection of information intended to serve as evidence that the Bush Administration altered intelligence to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Conyers has proposed House Resolution 288, which condemns “religious intolerance” but emphasizes Islam as needing special protection from acts of violence and intolerance. It states that “it should never be official policy of the United States Government to disparage the Quran, Islam, or any religion in any way, shape, or form,” and “calls upon local, State, and Federal authorities to work to prevent bias-motivated crimes and acts against all individuals, including those of the Islamic faith.” The bill was referred to the House subcommittee on the Constitution in June 2005.
On January 13, 2009, the House Committee on the Judiciary, led by Conyers, released "Reining in the Imperial Presidency: Lessons and Recommendations Relating to the Presidency of George W. Bush," a 486-page report detailing alleged abuses of power that occurred during the Bush administration, and a comprehensive set of recommendations to prevent recurrence. Conyers has introduced a bill to set up a "truth commission" panel to investigate alleged policy abuses of the Bush administration. [MORE]
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) said Thursday that he, too, sees no discernible difference between Franken and Conyers.
“I agree with Pelosi. Conyers should resign. And for that matter, Franken should resign too,” Ryan tweeted. “These are credible allegations, and I believe these women. Congress should set the example for all industries and be a safe place for women to work.”