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MI Rep. Conyers steps aside as ranking member of House Judiciary Committee

Conyers steps aside as ranking member
Posted at 12:35 PM, Nov 26, 2017

Congressman John Conyers, Jr. released a statement stating he would step aside as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee during the investigation of sexual assault allegations. 

"I deny these allegations, many of which were raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger," he said in the statement. "I very much look forward to vindicating myself and my family before the House Committee on Ethics."

Conyers said he would like "very much" to remain as ranking member, but he believes that his presence could not serve core concerns while the investigation is pending. 

"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," he said.

He said he is grateful to his colleagues who have called for due process before "weighing judgment."

"I would urge them to continue to do so for any Member accused of wrongdoing. Basic fairness requires no less,” Conyers said.

In a statement issued late Sunday, a dozen former female staffers came to the Congressman's defense.

"Mr. Conyers was a gentleman and never behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner in our presence," the statement said. "He was respectful, valued our opinions, challenged our thinking, and treated us as professionals."

Conyers has denied any wrongdoing following reports of allegedly sexually harassing a staffer, and has admitted paying a settlement to that same staffer.

Read the full statement issued by former female staffers:

We are women whose combined tenures span over thirty years working with Congressman Conyers in Washington, D.C. in a variety of capacities, including legal, communications, and executive support positions. We do not condone or justify sexual harassment and believe the ongoing national debate is important. While we do not pass judgment on the specific allegations reported in the press or the women who brought them, our experiences with Mr. Conyers were quite different than the image of him being portrayed in the media. Mr. Conyers was a gentleman and never behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner in our presence. He was respectful, valued our opinions, challenged our thinking, and treated us as professionals. Under his leadership, we worked in an environment dedicated to the advancement of human and civil rights, including women’s rights, immigrants’ rights, voting rights, and the intellectual property rights of creators. We believe in due process and support allowing the ethics investigation to run its course.

Read the full statement issued by Congressman John Conyers below:

“After careful consideration and in light of the attention drawn by recent allegations made against me, I have notified the Democratic Leader of my request to step aside as Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee during the investigation of these matters.
 
“I deny these allegations, many of which were raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger. I very much look forward to vindicating myself and my family before the House Committee on Ethics.
 
“To be clear, I would like very much to remain as Ranking Member. There is still much work to be done on core concerns like securing civil rights, enacting meaningful criminal justice reform, and protecting access to the ballot box. These challenges could not be more pressing in the face of an Administration that cares little for the rule of law and a President whose actions and conduct cheapens our discourse every day.
 
“But 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. 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.
 
“I am proud and fortunate to be part of a legacy of more than 50 years of fighting for civil rights and making our country more equitable and just. I will never allow that legacy – a legacy I owe to my father   John Conyers, Sr., who integrated labor unions, or my two amazing sons John III and Carl and my loving wife Monica, and the extraordinary people of Detroit – to be cast aside, or these causes to be in any way diminished.
 
“I am grateful to my colleagues who have called for due process before weighing judgment. I would urge them to continue to do so for any Member accused of wrongdoing. Basic fairness requires no less.”