Conyers faces new pressure to resign after a fourth accuser alleges harassment


Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) In 2015. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

The political future of the oldest member of Congress, Representative John Conyers (Michigan Democrat), seemed precarious on Tuesday night as leaders he pressured him to resign over accusations that he badually harbaded several female badistants.

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and members of the Black Congress Caucus are encouraging the veteran lawmaker to resign as early as this week after a fourth accuser filed Tuesday morning, according to a Democratic adviser requested anonymity to describe private conversations.

Although Conyers denies the wrongdoing and has insisted he will not resign, he resigned as a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee on Sunday. The measure was seen as a concession to critics who said it should no longer occupy such a powerful position as accusations mount.

The 88-year-old legislator was not seen on Tuesday afternoon, where the members of the CBC had a strange meeting on the floor of the House.

Several members of the group refused to say publicly if Conyers should resign.

"The resignation is a personal matter," said Representative Cedric Richmond (D-La.), The president of the CBC. "That's a personal decision for him and his family."

"I do not think we should rush to judge the decisions," said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), A senior member of the House National Security Committee. of Representatives. "It's his decision, and I would wait at some point to make that decision."

Conyers, an icon of liberal policymaking, has become a focus in discussions of badual harbadment in Congress, such as decades of misconduct and a pattern of secret agreements between lawmakers and staff coming out light in the Capitol. While a growing number of women legislators are urging Congress leaders to respond quickly, Conyers' seniority and involvement in the civil rights movement has caused some colleagues to stop and demand his resignation. Pelosi called it "an icon" on Sunday talk shows, only to face the immediate criticism of women's rights advocates and others.

Saying he has "admired Rep. Conyers for decades," Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) Said on Tuesday that, however, he should resign given the pattern of misconduct alleged by former advisers.

"This is a decisive moment where, finally, the country seems to be waking up and realizing that we need to have a zero tolerance policy towards badual harbadment," Jayapal, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.

"I think these women, I see the pattern and there is only one conclusion: Mr. Conyers must resign," he said.

A report published on Tuesday in the Detroit News could make it difficult for Conyers to defy such calls to step aside. The newspaper reported that Deanna Maher, who worked for Conyers between 1997 and 2005, said she made a proposal once and played it inappropriately twice.

Since last week multiple allegations have surfaced, when BuzzFeed reported that Conyers reached a financial agreement in 2015 with a former employee who said he was fired for refusing his badual advances.

In court documents filed earlier this year, a second woman, Maria Reddick, accused Conyers of harbading her while she worked as a programmer.

And in an interview with The Washington Post, a well-known congressional ethics attorney accused Conyers of harbading and verbally abusing her while working for him in the 1990s.

The House Ethics Committee He has opened an investigation into Conyers' behavior, and on Tuesday Pelosi urged the panel to investigate the allegations of badual harbadment "in an expeditious and fair manner"

"As someone who served for seven years on the Ethics Committee, I know that the demands of personnel and resources can sometimes be too long, and if you need additional resources to carry out these investigations fairly and quickly, please let them know, "Pelosi wrote in a letter to the committee leaders on Tuesday afternoon. .

A call to Conyers' lawyer was not returned immediately on Tuesday afternoon. "He's in a very important phone call with Washington right now," said a secretary.

Kimberly Kindy contributed to this report.

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