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- Rep. John Conyers reportedly settled a sexual harassment claim with a staffer who says she was fired for refusing his sexual advances.
- The House Ethics Committee has already launched an inquiry.
- Some congressmembers and a prominent Michigan newspaper are calling on him to step down from his various posts.
Calls for Michigan Rep. John Conyers to step aside from his post as top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee – or from Congress all together – are increasing as revelations about his alleged sexual misconduct continue to emerge.
Conyers’ Democratic colleagues in the House, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Whip Steny Hoyer, have demanded an investigation by the Ethics Committee and are repeating calls for an overhaul of the way Congress handles sexual misconduct issues.
The Ethics Committee swiftly launched an investigation into Conyers after BuzzFeed reported that a woman was fired for not complying with his sexual advances. Conyers admitted to a settlement, but denied any wrongdoing.
Some have suggested further action be taken.
“It’s deeply disturbing that my colleague, Mr. Conyers, used his own resources within his office to make this some sort of settlement instead of going through the official process,” said Illinois Rep. Mike Quigley on CNN.
“Frankly, if I was in his place, I would leave,” Quigley added.
New York Rep. Gregory Meeks told CNN on Wednesday that Conyers should leave his post as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee while the Ethics Committee conducts its investigation.
“I think that given that there is one and now another incident of women coming in to say that it would not be appropriate on the Judiciary Committee to sit there,” Meeks said. “He should step down as the ranking member with the opportunity if he defends himself and says that there’s nothing there that he can come back. But you can’t in my estimation, just in the scenario that we’re in, to be the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee at this time.”
Aside from the few members of Congress calling for Conyers’ to step aside, a Tuesday editorial from Conyers’ hometown newspaper, the Detroit Free Press, demanded the 88-year-old Democrat resign.
“It’s a tragic end to his public career,” the Free Press wrote. “But it’s the appropriate consequence for the stunning subterfuge his office has indulged here, and a needed warning to other members of Congress that this can never be tolerated.”
While few lawmakers have said Conyers should step down, more could be coming. Another woman came forward alleging that she endured daily harassment from him and attempted to pursue legal action.