Conyers Just Announced He’s Stepping Aside As Ranking Dem On House Judiciary Committee
U.S. Congressman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) announced on Sunday that he is stepping aside as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee pending an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.
“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,” he said in a statement on Sunday, The Hill reports.
“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,” he added.
The announcement comes after several Democratic lawmakers called for him to step down from his powerful post.
The House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into the allegations after BuzzFeed News reported last week that Conyers had settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with a former staffer who accused him of sexual harassment.
The report said Conyers settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with a former employee who alleged he fired her because she would not “succumb to his sexual advances.”
Shortly the bombshell report dropped, other staffers alleged that he made requests for sexual favors, inappropriately touched staffers and used congressional resources to transport women that they believed he was having sexual relationships with at the time.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) released a statement about Conyers’ decision to step down, stressing that “zero tolerance means consequences.”
“We must ensure the Congress has a climate of dignity and respect with zero tolerance,” she added.
Conyers, the longest-serving member of the House, has said he will “fully cooperate” with the Ethics Committee investigation.
One of his House colleagues, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) on Friday, called for the Michigan lawmaker to resign amid the allegations.
President Donald Trump also faces multiple allegations of sexual harassment. He was caught bragging about sexually assaulting women in the now infamous Access Hollywood tape. Unlike Democrats, however, Republicans haven’t had the courage to ask Trump to resign.