Dem John Conyers Resigns From Congress – Family Erupts In a Civil War
Embattled Michigan House Representative John Conyers Jr, facing a growing number of accusations by former employees that he sexually harassed them, announced his immediate retirement from Congress.
While doing so, he endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to replace him.
Mr. Conyers, the longest-serving current member of the House and the longest-serving black American representative in history, broke the news when he called into a local radio show.
“I am retiring today,” Mr. Conyers said from a hospital in Michigan. “I am in the process of putting together my retirement plans. I will have more on that soon.”
As expected, he continues to deny he has harassed anyone, and claims to have no idea why the allegations ever surfaced.
“My legacy can’t be compromised or diminished in any way by what we are going through now,” Mr. Conyers said. “This too shall pass. My legacy will continue through my children.”
The decision sets up a battle within the Conyers family for his Detroit-area House seat. Ian Conyers, a Michigan state senator and the grandson of Mr. Conyers’s brother, said he also plans to run for the seat held by his 88-year-old great-uncle reports MSN.
“His doctor advised him that the rigor of another campaign would be too much for him just in terms of his health,” Ian Conyers said.
The congressman, who took his Michigan seat in the House in 1965, has already stepped aside as the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee amid swirling allegations of sexual improprieties. He has been facing intense pressure to resign.
Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader, have each said Mr. Conyers should resign after a woman who settled a sexual harassment claim against him said on television that the congressman had “violated” her body, repeatedly propositioned her for sex and asked her to touch his genitals. Other former staff members have since come forward to say he harassed them or behaved inappropriately.
The younger Mr. Conyers said that despite the accusations, he believes Michigan voters will reward his family’s work in politics by electing him.
The congressman “still enjoys healthy support in our district,” Mr. Conyers said.
He added, “People are ready to support our dean and to support our family as we continue to fight, as we have for leading up to a century, for people from Southeast Michigan.”
He said he believed his great-uncle should have due process but stopped short of defending him.
“I stand with my uncle in terms of his belief of no specific wrongdoing,” Mr. Conyers said. “However, those things need to have their day in court.”
The embattled Michigan Democrat said on Tuesday that he wanted his son, John Conyers III, to replace him when he departs. But earlier in the morning, Conyers’ nephew, Ian Conyers, said that he would be seeking the seat.
“I’m absolutely going to file for his seat, Ian Conyers, a state senator, told the New York Times. “The work of our congressional district, where I come out of, has to continue.”
The confusion over Conyer’s replacement reflected the frantic final chapter of the congressman’s storied-turned-controversial career.
The sex scandals aren’t just contained to Conyers, however. Other members of Congress are being caught up in it as well, some appearing to admit guilt by declining to run for re-election.
Representative Joe Barton, a Republican and the Texas delegation’s most senior House member, announced this week in an interview with The Dallas Morning News that he would not seek re-election after sexually suggestive online messages that he sent to a constituent came to light.
Representative Blake Farenthold, Republican of Texas, is also facing pressure after it was revealed last week that he used $84,000 in taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment claim with his former communications director, Lauren Greene. She accused him of regularly making comments to gauge her interest in a sexual relationship, including saying he was having “sexual fantasies” about her.
And last week, an Ohio Army veteran became the fifth woman to accuse Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, of inappropriate touching. Senior House Democrats have also begun calling for Mr. Franken to resign.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
December 5th, 2017
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