by CHQ Staff
Let’s call it the trickledown theory of get-out-of-jail-free cards. Once Bill and Hillary Clinton were given a pass on their serial transgressions; sexual assault, lawbreaking of all kinds, graft and corruption it seems no Democrat bigwig can be held accountable for anything.
Many will see this precedent in Senator Al Franken’s apparent get-out-of-jail-free card on his photo-documented serial groping and sexual harassment, now being excused as all in good fun by his former Saturday Night Live castmates, Democratic politicians and even one of the victims – leftwing media mogul Arianna Huffington.
However, Franken’s consequence-free groping pales in comparison to the treatment afforded another Democrat bigwig – ranking member of the House Committee on the Judiciary and former Chairman of that panel Rep. John Conyers (MI-13) whom we have learned was protected from a sexual harassment charge by a $27,000 payout of taxpayer-funded hush money.
The 88-year old Conyers, first elected in 1964, is the “Dean” of the House, having served longer than any other current member of that body.
However, by rights, Conyers should not even still be a member of the House of Representatives.
In 2014 the Michigan Secretary of State ruled that Conyers had not met the petition signature requirements to appear on the Democratic Primary ballot because his petition circulators did not meet the statutory requirements, and thus the signatures they gathered were invalid.
However, Judge Matthew F. Leitman put him back on the ballot by judicial fiat in ruling that the requirement (instituted to prevent fraud) that petition circulators be registered voters was unconstitutional. “He shall be placed on the ballot,” ordered Judge Leitman.
It will surprise no one to learn that Leitman was nominated to the federal bench in 2013 by President Barack Obama. He was confirmed in March 2014.
We contrast that to the treatment Newt Gingrich received in 2008, when he was kept off the GOP primary ballot in Virginia through staff flubs.
Conyers received that get-out-of-jail-free-card on top of the pass Conyers received after two of his former aides alleged to the FBI and the House Ethics Committee that Conyers used his staff to work on several local and state campaigns, and forced them to baby-sit and chauffeur his children.
In late December 2006, Conyers “accepted responsibility” for possibly violating House rules. A statement issued December 29, 2006, by the House Ethics Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) and Ranking Minority Member Howard Berman (D-CA), said that Conyers acknowledged what he characterized as a “lack of clarity” in his communications with staff members regarding their official duties and responsibilities, and accepted responsibility for his actions. In deciding to drop the matter, Hastings and Berman stated:
After reviewing the information gathered during the inquiry, and in light of Representative Conyers’ cooperation with the inquiry, we have concluded that this matter should be resolved through the issuance of this public statement and the agreement by Representative Conyers to take a number of additional, significant steps to ensure that his office complies with all rules and standards regarding campaign and personal work by congressional staff.
But Conyers’ abuse of staff apparently didn’t end in 2006.
Conyers settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with a former employee who alleged she was fired because she would not “succumb to [his] sexual advances.”
“I was basically blackballed. There was nowhere I could go,” the employee said in a phone interview with BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed News is withholding the woman’s name at her request because she said she fears retribution.
The former employee said Conyers repeatedly asked her for sexual favors and often asked her to join him in a hotel room. On one occasion, she alleges that Conyers asked her to work out of his room for the evening, but when she arrived the congressman started talking about his sexual desires. She alleged he then told her she needed to “touch it,” in reference to his penis, or find him a woman who would meet his sexual demands.
She alleged Conyers made her work nights, evenings, and holidays to keep him company.
In another incident, the former employee alleged the congressman insisted she stay in his room while they traveled together for a fundraising event. When she told him that she would not stay with him, she alleged he told her to “just cuddle up with me and caress me before you go.”
“Rep. Conyers strongly postulated that the performing of personal service or favors would be looked upon favorably and lead to salary increases or promotions,” the former employee said in the documents.
Three other staff members provided affidavits submitted to the Office Of Compliance that outlined a pattern of behavior from Conyers that included touching the woman in a sexual manner and growing angry when she brought her husband around reported BuzzFeed.
One affidavit from a former female employee states that she was tasked with flying in women for the congressman. “One of my duties while working for Rep. Conyers was to keep a list of women that I assumed he was having affairs with and call them at his request and, if necessary, have them flown in using Congressional resources,” said her affidavit. (A second staffer alleged in an interview with BuzzFeed that Conyers used taxpayer resources to fly women to him.)
BuzzFeed reports the employee said in her affidavit that Conyers also made sexual advances toward her: “I was driving the Congressman in my personal car and was resting my hand on the stick shift. Rep. Conyers reached over and began to caress my hand in a sexual manner.”
The woman said she told Conyers she was married and not interested in pursuing a sexual relationship, according to the affidavit. She said she was told many times by constituents that it was well-known that Conyers had sexual relationships with his staff, and said she and other female staffers felt this undermined their credibility.
“I am personally aware of several women who have experienced the same or similar sexual advances made towards them by Rep[.] John Conyers,” she said in her affidavit reported BuzzFeed.
A male employee wrote that he witnessed Rep. Conyers rub the legs and other body parts of the complainant “in what appeared to be a sexual manner” and saw the congressman rub and touch other women “in an inappropriate manner.” The employee said he confronted Conyers about this behavior.
“Rep. Conyers said he needed to be ‘more careful’ because bad publicity would not be helpful as he runs for re-election. He ended the conversation with me by saying he would ‘work on’ his behavior,” the male staffer said in his affidavit according to BuzzFeed.
The male employee said that in 2011 Conyers complained a female staffer was “too old” and said he wanted to let her go. The employee said he set up a meeting in December 2011 to discuss “mistreatment of staff and his misuse of federal resources.” BuzzFeed reports the affidavit says that Conyers “agreed that he would work on making improvements as long as I worked directly with him and stopped writing memos and emails about concerns.”
Another female employee also attested that she witnessed Conyer’s advances, and said she was asked to transport women to him. “I was asked on multiple occasions to pick up women and bring them to Mr. Conyers[‘] apartment, hotel rooms, etc.”
BuzzFeed News reached out to several former Conyers staffers, all of whom did not want to speak on the record. One former staffer, who did not want to be named, said she was frustrated by the secretive complaint process.
Documents from the complaint obtained by BuzzFeed News include four signed affidavits, three of which are notarized, from former staff members who allege that Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Judiciary Committee, repeatedly made sexual advances to female staff that included requests for sex acts, contacting and transporting other women with whom they believed Conyers was having affairs, caressing their hands sexually, and rubbing their legs and backs in public. Four people involved with the case verified the documents are authentic claimed BuzzFeed.
Naturally, Conyers issued a blanket denial of the former employee’s allegations.
Last week the Washington Post reported that Congress’s Office of Compliance paid out $17 million for 264 settlements with federal employees over 20 years for various violations, including sexual harassment. The Conyers documents, however, give a glimpse into the inner workings of the office, which has for decades concealed episodes of sexual abuse by powerful political figures.
“Your story won’t do shit to him,” said the staffer. “He’s untouchable.”
Based on the Bill Clinton and Al Franken precedents it looks like the former staffer is right – at least if you are a powerful Democrat.
Reprinted with permission from ConservativeHQ.com