It is being reported by Fox News that John Conyer's hometown paper is calling for him to resign in the aftermath of sexual harassment allegations made against him, as well as a payout to one of the alleged victims. In particular, Conyers is accused of using tax dollars to settle a claim behind closed doors after a staffer was allegedly fired for rejecting his advances.
The paper called Conyers' behavior something that "can never be tolerated in a public official, much less an elected representative of the people."
They then claimed that he should "resign his position" and "allow the investigation into his behavior to unfold without the threat that it would render him... effectively voiceless."
According to NBC News, recent accusations against Conyer have raised questions about the lack of accountability of those on Capitol Hill. They claim that the secret settlement between Conyers and the alleged victim was a settlement reached outside the scope of the official reporting mechanism and was done through the congressman's taxpayer allocated discretionary funds.
Conyer has acknowledged in a statement that his congressional office paid the accuser $27,000. NBC writes that Conyers had settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with an ex-staffer who claimed she'd been fired after refusing the congressman's advances. This was an accusation that Conyer's strongly denies.
On Tuesday, the House Ethics Committee announced that it is opening an investigation into the matter.
In the meantime, Conyers has defended the payment and the use of funds in a statement.
“My office resolved the allegations — with an express denial of liability — in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation. That should not be lost in the narrative. The resolution was not for millions of dollars, but rather for an amount that equated to a reasonable severance payment,” Conyers said, according to Fox News.
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