After a damning BuzzFeed report, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) is stepping down as the ranking Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee.
The 88-year-old congressman has confirmed that he settled a sexual harassment lawsuit for $27,000. A former staffer said that she resisted sexual advances from Conyers and was fired as a result, and now Conyers is under investigation from the House Ethics Committee.
“I deny these allegations, many of which were raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger,” Conyers said in a statement. “I very much look forward to vindicating myself and my family before the House Committee on Ethics.”
How are Democrats responding?
There has been some division in the party over how to respond to Conyers. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) are two Democrats who have been critical of the long-time congressman, with Rice saying Conyers should step down and Speier slamming the House ethics process.
“We say zero tolerance, but I don’t believe that we put our money where our mouths are,” Speier said.
But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wasn’t nearly as transparent, vaguely defending Conyers as an “icon” in a bizarre response on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“John Conyers is an icon in our country,” Pelosi said. “He has done a great deal to protect women – Violence Against Women Act, which the left — right-wing — is now quoting me as praising him for his work on that, and he did great work on that. But the fact is, as John reviews his case, which he knows, which I don’t, I believe he will do the right thing.”
Democrats’ double standard on sexual misconduct allegations is one more example of our lawmakers valuing power more than principles. Republicans and Democrats alike need to take a good hard look at themselves and be honest about what comes first.
“A year after the presidential election, this continues to be a disturbing trend in America: the win-at-all-costs attitude,” Glenn said. “We’re leaking principles left and right.”