UPDATE (10:31 a.m.) – Longtime Michigan Rep. John Conyers has told The Associated Press that he hasn’t settled any sexual harassment complaints with any staff members.
Conyers, who answered the door at his Detroit home Tuesday morning, says he knows nothing about any claims of inappropriate touching and learned of the story just hours earlier.
Referring to allegations of sexual harassment and assault being made against politicians and others, the veteran lawmaker says he’s “been looking at these things with amazement.”
BuzzFeed reports that Conyers’ office paid the woman over $27,000 to settle the complaint under a confidentiality agreement. BuzzFeed also published affidavits from former staff members who said they had witnessed Conyers touching female staffers inappropriately or requesting sexual favors.
UPDATE (10:05 a.m.) – House Speaker Paul Ryan says it’s “deeply troubling” that 88-year-old Rep. John Conyers reportedly settled a complaint in 2015 with a female aide who claimed she was fired after spurning his sexual advances.
Ryan says the House is changing its procedures for handling charges of harassment and discrimination, which have been called too weak and cumbersome.
The Wisconsin Republican says House employees “deserve and are entitled to a workplace without harassment or discrimination.”
The speaker’s statement didn’t mention Conyers’ name. Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong confirmed it was directed at the Michigan Democrat.
Conyers entered the House in 1965 and is currently its longest-serving member. He’s top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.
The Buzzfeed News report said Conyers paid the woman $27,000 to settle the complaint with a confidentiality agreement.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Michigan Rep. John Conyers settled a complaint in 2015 from a woman who alleged she was fired from his Washington staff because she rejected his sexual advances, BuzzFeed News reported Monday.
The website reported that Conyers’ office paid the woman over $27,000 to settle the complaint under a confidentiality agreement.
BuzzFeed also published affidavits from former staff members who said they had witnessed Conyers touching female staffers inappropriately -rubbing their legs and backs – or requesting sexual favors. One former staffer said one of her duties 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.”