Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., said Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., should step down as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee while the House Committee on Ethics investigates allegations of sexual harassment against him.
“I really think that probably the appropriate thing right now is he should step down as the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee and be subject to this ethics investigation so it can be determined whether or not there’s a practice or pattern, and then appropriate consideration should be made at that time as soon as the Ethics Committee finishes its review,” Meeks told CNN on Wednesday.
Rep. Gregory Meeks: Conyers "should step down as the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee and be subject to this ethics investigation" https://t.co/gOCW2HXH4S— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) November 22, 2017
The House Committee on Ethics has launched an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against Conyers, the longest serving member of Congress and a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
The probe stems from a wrongful dismissal case Conyers’ office settled in 2015 with a former female staffer who accused Conyers, 88, of firing her for rejecting his sexual advances.
Four other former employees said in signed affidavits Conyers made unwanted sexual advances toward other women in the office, touched female staffers inappropriately, asked for sexual favors, and used congressional resources to fly women to Washington, D.C. Conyers’ employees believed the congressman was having affairs with these women.
Another former female employee of Conyers accused the congressman of touching her inappropriately “repeatedly and daily” in a lawsuit that was ultimately withdrawn. The woman worked as a scheduler for Conyers but was fired in 2016.
Meeks, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus alongside Conyers, said that it is inappropriate for Conyers to continue serving as ranking member of the Judiciary Committee given the allegations against him, but with that caveat that he be permitted to retake the position if the investigation clears him of wrongdoing.
“He should step down as the ranking member with the opportunity, if he defends himself and it shows there is nothing there, he can come back,” he said. “You can’t, in my estimation, in the scenario we’re in, be the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee at this time.”