Should Congressman John Conyers Resign?

Rep. Debbie Dingell urges leaders to prohibit use of taxpayer dollars to settle claims against members of Congress.

John Conyers

Congressman John Conyers (D-Detroit) is stepping down as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee amid accusations of sexual misconduct. Conyers has said he will not resign his seat in Congress and denies any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, Conyers faces a Congressional investigation over the allegations.

What will this mean for the longest currently-serving member of Congress? Should Conyers resign? Should he be forced out if he doesn’t resign? How might this affect his legacy? What does this tell us about the culture in Washington D.C.? 

Two political reporters — one in Michigan and one in Washington D.C. — join Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about these questions.

“I seriously doubt he gets that position back (as ranking member of Judiciary Committee) regardless of the results of the ethics investigation,” says Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network (MPRN) Capitol bureau chief, who has covered Michigan politics for 30 years.

Detroit Free Press Washington D.C. reporter Todd Spangler says it’s unlikely Conyers will face much in the way of formal punishment from his colleagues in Congress.

“There’s only been five expulsions in the history of the U.S. House,” says Spangler. “That’s extraordinarily unlikely in this case.”

“I think even (censure) is a long-shot,” he says.

Henderson also speaks with Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) about Conyers and her own experience as a survivor of sexual harassment and assault.

“There are too many men who have done good things but have also sexually assaulted women,” says Dingell. “We’ve got to say you cannot do this.”

Dingell also says Conyers is innocent until proven guilty under the law, but the allegations must be investigated. She also says one the most important things Congress must do before the end of the year is change its rules so that taxpayer dollars cannot be used to settle these kinds of claims.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


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