Two businessmen from Detroit are expressing their appreciation for the work longtime Michigan Rep. John Conyers has done in Washington, despite a report that the 88-year-old legislator engaged in sexual misconduct while in office. (Nov. 21) AP
A New York congresswoman became the first Democratic House member to call for Rep. John Conyers to resign over accusations of sexual harassment against the Michigan Democrat.
"Rep. John Conyers should resign," Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., said in a statement Wednesday. "I've reviewed the allegations against him, and they're as credible as they are repulsive."
Conyers admitted to settling a 2015 complaint from a former staffer who accused him of harassment, but he denies her accusations as well as other allegations leveled at him in a report from Buzzfeed News.
"I expressly and vehemently denied the allegations made against me, and continue to do so," Conyers said in a statement Tuesday. "My office resolved the allegations — with an express denial of liability — in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation."
Conyers initially denied the settlement when first asked about the report, according to the Associated Press. Conyers' office explained the congressman was unclear about what the AP reporter was asking during an "unannounced visit" to Conyers' home.
Conyers settled the complaint for $27,000 and a confidentiality agreement, BuzzFeed reported.
The news site also published affidavits from former staff members who said they had witnessed Conyers touching female staffers inappropriately — rubbing their legs and backs — or requesting sexual favors. Another staffer said it was her job to set up Conyers' liaisons with women, sometimes with "Congressional resources."
Conyers, 88, is a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee and the longest-serving current member of the House.
Rice is the first Democratic House member to say it is time for Conyers to go, but Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., said Conyers should step down from the Judiciary Committee while the House Ethics Committee investigates the allegations against him.