Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. announced his decision to resign as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. Conyers is among the many politicians across the country facing sexual harassment allegations.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Conyers explained why he decided to step aside. He emphasized that he wants to defend himself before the House Committee on Ethics.
Conyers tweeted, “After careful consideration and in light of the attention drawn by recent allegations made against me, I have notified the Democratic Leader of my request to step aside as Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee during the investigation of these matters.”
Conyers strongly denied the sexual harassment allegations
Last week, BuzzFeed reported that Conyers paid more than $27,000 to a female aide to settle a wrongful dismissal complaint. The former aide alleged that she was fired because of her refusal to “succumb to [his] sexual advances.”
Hours following the publication of the report, the congressman admitted the settlement but he strongly denied the allegations of sexual harassment.
On Sunday, Conyers once again denied the allegations against him. He said, “Many of which were raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger. I very much look forward to vindicating myself and my family before the House Committee on Ethics.”
Additionally, the congressman said, “To be clear, I would like very much to remain as Ranking Member. There is still much work to be done on core concerns like securing civil rights, enacting meaningful criminal justice reform…”
However, Conyers believes that his presence on the Judiciary Committee will impact those efforts while he is under investigation by the Ethics Committee.
He said, “I cannot in good conscience allow these charges to undermine my colleagues in the Democratic Caucus, and my friends on both sides of the aisle in the Judiciary Committee and the House of Representatives.”
Conyers is proud of his legacy as civil rights advocate
At present, Conyers is the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives. According to him, he is “proud and fortunate to be part of a legacy of more than 50 years fighting for civil rights.”
He emphasized that he owe that legacy to his father. He will not allow that legacy to be cast aside or reduced in any way.