The House Committee on Ethics has opened an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the panel announced Tuesday.
“The Committee is aware of public allegations that Representative John Conyers, Jr. may have engaged in sexual harassment of members of his staff, discriminated against certain staff on the basis of age, and used official resources for impermissible personal purposes,” committee Chairwoman Susan Brooks, R-Ind., and ranking member Ted Deutch, D-Fla., said in a statement. “The Committee, pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a), has begun an investigation and will gather additional information regarding these allegations.”
The investigation stems from allegations, reported Monday by BuzzFeed, that Conyers settled a wrongful dismissal case with a former female staffer in 2015. The staffer said she was fired after rejecting Conyers’ sexual advances.
Four other staffers said the congressman made unwanted sexual advances toward other female staffers, asked for sexual favors, touched female employees inappropriately, and asked his employees to bring women to Washington, D.C.
Staffers believed the congressman was having affairs with the women and said Conyers used congressional resources to fly them in.
Conyers denied the allegations against him in a statement Tuesday, but acknowledged he did settle with a former employee “with an express denial of liability.”
A number of Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called for an ethics investigation into the accusations. Conyers said he would cooperate with any such probe.
The Ethics Committee noted the “mere fact that it is investigating these allegations, and publicly disclosing its review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred.”