An editorial in Democrat Rep. John Conyers’ hometown paper urged the congressman to step down from his position in light of accusations that he used taxpayer money to pay off a sexual harassment accuser.
The Detroit-Free Press editorial argued that while Conyers is a “hero of the civil rights,” he needs to resign due to reports of his alleged firing of a woman who rebuffed his sexual advances.
“John Conyers Jr. must go — after 53 years in Congress, after a stellar career of fighting for equality, after contributing so much to southeast Michigan and the nation,” the editorial board for the paper wrote. “It’s a tragic end to his public career. But it’s the appropriate consequence for the stunning subterfuge his office has indulged here, and a needed warning to other members of Congress that this can never be tolerated.”
A Monday Buzzfeed report cited numerous women who alleged the Michigan representative heavily implied that in order to advance in his office, they needed to perform sexual favors for him. One staffer also alleged that Conyers used taxpayer money to fly women out to see him. It was also revealed that Conyers paid a woman $27,000 in taxpayer money after he reportedly fired her because she did not return his sexual advances.
Conyers’ office admitted to paying out a $27,000 settlement, but said it amounted to severance pay.
The editorial board said that Conyers’ behavior, despite his years as a public servant, could not be tolerated in an era where men are taking advantage of women.
“In the current climate of revelations about powerful men abusing their positions and committing horrific acts of harassment, abuse or assault on women, those allegations should be enough to spur a dedicated congressional inquiry. Without a doubt, Congress has a real problem, and one that the American people deserve to see resolved,” the board wrote.
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