Updated 1:00 p.m. EDT, November 26
Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) announced on Sunday that he’s stepping down as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee while he’s under a probe by the House Ethics Committee for sexual harassment and age discrimination, ABC News reported.
A lawyer who worked with Conyers on the House Judiciary Committee accused him of “sexual discrimination.” That is in addition to a former staffer with whom Conyers settled a sexual harassment case for more than $27,000 with funds taken from his congressional budget.
While a chorus of voices are calling for Michigan’s Democratic Rep. John Conyers to step down over sexual misconduct allegations, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi wants to step on the brakes, calling for “due process” Sunday on “Meet the Press,” NBC News reported.
“John Conyers is an icon in our country. He has done a great deal to protect women – Violence Against Women Act, which the…right-wing – is now quoting me as praising him for his work on that, and he did great work on that. But the fact is, as John reviews his case, which he knows, which I don’t, I believe he will do the right thing,” Pelosi added.
It came to light on Tuesday that Conyers settled a sexual harassment claim with a former employee in 2015 for more than $27,000. Former staff members also accused Conyers, 88, of making repeated sexual advances on female staff. The high-ranking, longest serving member of Congress allegedly requested sexual favors from some of his female staff and allegedly transported other women to Washington with whom he was suspected of having affairs. The former staff member filed her complaint in 2014 with the congressional Office of Compliance. It accused Conyers of firing her because she declined his sexual advance.
After the news broke, GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan called the report “extremely troubling,” and Michigan’s Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga was among the first to call for Conyers’ resignation. In his initial response to the report, Conyers seemed to deny paying the settlement. But he later clarified that he indeed settled the case through his congressional budget but denied the allegations. This comes against the backdrop of President Donald Trump backing Alabama’s GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of sexual misconduct with underaged girls when he was in his 30s.
SOURCE: NBC News