#MeToo: John Conyers Steps Down from House Judiciary Committee amid Harassment Accusations
Veteran congressman John Conyers says he is stepping aside as top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee while harassment allegations are investigated.
The Michigan Democrat again denied the accusations, but said he was stepping down to clear his name.
A staff member alleges she was fired for refusing to “succumb to advances” from John Conyers.
A prominent civil rights leader, John Conyers first joined Congress in 1965.
The House Ethics Committee has launched an investigation into allegations of harassment and age discrimination involving staff.
On November 26, John Conyers, now 88, tweeted that he would like to remain as ranking member on the judiciary committee, but that he could not “in good conscience” allow the charges to “undermine” House colleagues.
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On November 21, it was reported that he had paid $27,000 in 2015 in exchange for the confidentiality of a former staff member who alleged she was fired for rejecting advances.
According to signed legal documents seen by Buzzfeed, John Conyers was also accused of repeatedly making advances and inappropriately touching other female employees.
However, he said that many of the allegations “were raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger”.
Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives, said it was imperative that John Conyers received “due process”.
She called him “an icon” who had advanced women’s causes.
However, Nancy Pelosi tweeted in reference to John Conyers: “Zero tolerance means consequences… No matter how great an individual’s legacy, it is not a license for harassment.”
John Conyers is the last member of Congress to have been in office under President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s.
Republican house speaker Paul Ryan has called the allegations “extremely troubling”.
He recently announced that all lawmakers and staff members must undergo anti-harassment training.