Rep. John Conyers officially announces retirement, read resignation letter

Two family members to battle for Conyers' seat
Posted at 6:04 AM, Dec 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-05 17:14:29-05

Rep. John Conyers, who has been battling sexual harassment allegations by former female staffers, says he is retiring.

Read his resignation letter read before Congress by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee:

Today I notified Speaker Ryan, Leader Pelosi and Governor Snyder of my retirement from the United States House of Representatives.

It has been a privilege and an honor to serve the citizens of Detroit, Michigan as their United States Congressman in the 13th and 14th Congressional District for 53 years. I came to Congress in 1964.

Since then, I have devoted my entire career to improving the lives of my constituents in Detroit and on the behalf of justice everywhere. These years witnessed a profound evolution in Civil Rights, led by millions in the streets who marched for justice and people of conscience in the Congress- both Democrats and Republicans – who heard them and enacted the civil rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and other landmark reforms.

I have been in the forefront of the Civil rights movement, I have been a champion of justice for the oppressed and the disenfranchised. I have never wavered in my commitment to justice and democracy.   I am proud to have been part of that rich history. II have been privileged to be a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus and to represent the United States Congress by being” Dean”.  I pass into law the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Act, the Violence Against Women Act, the Hate Crimes Act, the USA Freedom Act, and the extension of the Voting Rights Act.

I have led the fight against mandatory minimum sentences, hoping to reverse the devastating incarceration rates for African Americans and poor people; I have tried to pass a universal healthcare law (H.R. 676). Every Congress since 1989 I have introduced H.R. 40 to study reparations for slavery, and I deeply appreciate those handful of courageous colleagues who have joined me. For Detroiters, I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish to bring hundreds of millions of dollars in critical grants and federal funding for Southeast Michigan to revitalize our great city, attract rich talent, and return to us prosperity.  

I vehemently deny any and all allegations of harassment or dishonor, but I recognize that in this present environment, due process will not be afforded to me. I was taught by a great woman, my mother, to honor women. The first employee I ever hired was Mrs. Rosa Parks, who worked in my office for 22 years, and it has been my great honor to work alongside some of the most talented and honorable staff on Capitol Hill and in Detroit, both women and men.

Given the totality of the circumstance of not being afforded the right of due process in conjunction with my current health condition and to preserve my legacy and good name I am retiring. I hope that my retirement will be view in the larger perspective of my record of service, and as I enter a new chapter, I pledge to continue my commitment to a progressive vision and a better future for this country that I love. I owe that to the legacy of my father, John Conyers, Sr., who integrated labor unions in this country; to my brother Nathan, who integrated business and is my “main man” and to my loving wife Monica; and my sons John III, whom I believe offers hope to this generation of leadership, and who is committed to being an advocate of fairness and justice for all and Carl Edward who never leaves my side.

I cannot allow the great work of this body to be distracted by from the important work or the goals of the Democratic Party to be distracted. It has been and honor and a privilege of my life to represent the people of Michigan in the House of Representatives, but that responsibility will now fall to my colleagues and my successor. They have my deepest support and prayers. ” Jobs, Justice, Peace!!!”

The House Ethics Committee will likely continue to investigate Rep. John Conyers, even though the veteran Democrat has announced he plans to retire.

Conyer's attorney spoke on his behalf after the announcement.

Conyers Retirement Letter to Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd

The ethics panel retains jurisdiction over Conyers as long as the 27-term Democrat remains in Congress, and a senior legislative aide says the normal course would be for the ethics inquiry to continue.

The aide spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the individual wasn't authorized to discuss it publicly.

Lisa Bloom, an attorney for one of Conyers's accusers, says her client, Marion Brown, "is ready, willing and able to testify as to her sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Conyers."

Brown reached a confidential settlement with Conyers over sexual harassment allegations, but broke the confidentiality agreement to speak publicly last week.



Associated Press writer Matthew Daly contributed to this item.


10:20 a.m.

Rep. John Conyers, who has been battling sexual harassment allegations by former female staffers, says he is retiring.

Conyers told "The Mildred Gaddis Show" on WPZR-FM Tuesday that this will be his final two-year term. The 88-year-old Democrat says he is endorsing his son to take his seat in Congress.

Ian Conyers, the grandson of John Conyers' brother, earlier said his great-uncle would not run for re-election and that he would run for his seat in Washington, D.C.

Conyers, who was first elected in 1964, easily won re-election last year in the heavily Democratic 13th District.

The House Ethics Committee has been reviewing multiple harassment allegations against Conyers.

Among Conyers' accusers, Marion Brown says he repeatedly propositioned her for sex during more than a decade working for him. Elisa Grubbs, another former staffer, says he slid his hand up her skirt in church.


7 a.m.

A relative of John Conyers says the longest-serving current U.S. House member won't seek re-election amid allegations that he sexually harassed female staff members.

Michigan state Sen. Ian Conyers, a grandson of John Conyers' brother, told The New York Times early Tuesday that the decision comes after the 88-year-old Democrat's doctor "advised him that the rigor of another campaign would be too much for him, just in terms of his health."

Ian Conyers told the newspaper that his great-uncle "is not resigning. He is going to retire." The report didn't specify how Ian Conyers knew of the congressman's plans.

The Associated Press left the younger Conyers a message Tuesday.

John Conyers' attorney Arnold Reed has said the congressman plans to speak on a Detroit radio show Tuesday morning about his political future.


12:25 a.m.

A woman who says she worked for U.S. Rep. John Conyers for more than a decade says he slid his hand up her skirt and rubbed her thighs while she was sitting next to him in the front row of a church.

Elisa Grubbs made the allegation in an affidavit released by her attorney, Lisa Bloom. Grubbs is the cousin of another accuser, Marion Brown, who previously broke a confidentiality agreement to speak publicly.

Grubbs came forward as Conyers is expected to speak on a Detroit radio show Tuesday about his future. The 88-year-old Democrat is the longest-serving current House member.

Conyers' attorney Arnold Reed told the Detroit Free Press Grubbs' allegations are "another instance of tomfoolery from the mouth of Harvey Weinstein's attorney." Bloom previously represented Hollywood executive Weinstein.