Dem Rep. John Conyers Issues Statement Confirming Settlement, Denies Allegations
The morning after Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) was hit with sexual harassment claims, the Associated Press went to the lawmaker’s Detroit home to seek comment.
Conyers denied the report, claiming he has not settled any sexual harassment complaints with staffers. Hours later, the lawmaker confirmed that he did, in fact, pay a settlement over sexual harassment claims.
“JUST IN: Rep. John Conyers retracts earlier statement to AP, says he was surprised and confused about which allegations. He confirms a settlement but denies the allegations,” tweeted BuzzFeed’s Paul McLeod.
JUST IN: Rep. John Conyers retracts earlier statement to AP, says he was surprised and confused about which allegations. He confirms a settlement but denies the allegations. pic.twitter.com/Feql2CwuYp
— Paul McLeod (@pdmcleod) November 21, 2017
Daily Beast reports:
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) confirmed Tuesday that he had paid out a settlement after BuzzFeed News reported that his office paid a woman more than $27,000 as part of a confidentiality agreement related to sexual-harassment complaints. The confirmation retracts an earlier statement he made to the AP denying such a settlement and claiming he was surprised by the accusations. “I expressly and vehemently denied the allegations made against me, and continue to do so,” he said. “My office resolved the allegations– with an express denial of liability– in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation. That should not be lost in the narrative. The resolution was not for millions of dollars, but rather for an amount that equated to a reasonable severance payment.” The long-time congressman also stated that he would cooperate with a House investigation.
Monday evening, the longtime lawmaker was accused of settling sexual harassment allegations against him with taxpayer money.
Democratic Rep. John Conyers claimed Tuesday he didn’t know about the sexual harassment claims against him that were detailed in a BuzzFeed News investigation — but a person involved in the case immediately said that he did, in fact, know.[…]But a person involved in the case — which went through the Office of Compliance which has a secret mechanism by which Congress has kept an unknown number of sexual harassment allegations quiet — said it had actually reached a point where he did know.
“We brought the complaint to the Office of Compliance. They didn’t even tell him about it. You have to go through ‘counseling’ and all this stupid stuff. There’s an informal mediation that takes place — the congressmen don’t even know about this,” the person said.
“He ended up knowing about this because we took it as far as you can take it before you get to the official hearing,” the person said.
In a statement to POLITICO., Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said, “The allegations against Ranking Member Conyers are extremely serious and deeply troubling. Obviously, these allegations must be investigated promptly by the Ethics Committee.”
Speaker Paul Ryan called allegations against Conyers “extremely troubling.”
Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) was the person member of Congress calling for Conyers to resign.
Documents from the complaint obtained by BuzzFeed News include four signed affidavits, three of which are notarized, from former staff members who allege that Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Judiciary Committee, repeatedly made sexual advances to female staff that included requests for sexual favors, contacting and transporting other women with whom they believed Conyers was having affairs, caressing their hands sexually, and rubbing their legs and backs in public. Four people involved with the case verified the documents are authentic.
Buzzfeed also reported that staffers were tasked with flying women in for Conyers using Congressional resources.
One affidavit from a former female employee states that she was tasked with flying in women for the congressman. “One of my duties while working for Rep. Conyers was to keep a list of women that I assumed he was having affairs with and call them at his request and, if necessary, have them flown in using Congressional resources,” said her affidavit. (A second staffer alleged in an interview that Conyers used taxpayer resources to fly women to him.)
Former employees also said that Conyers made it very clear that if they performed ‘personal favors’ it would lead to salary increases and promotions. It was well known Conyers was having affairs with multiple female staffers. He often made sexual advances towards women and grew angry if they brought their husbands around.