House Democrats found themselves plunged into crisis on Tuesday after Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) — the “dean of the House” and one of the most prominent African-American lawmakers in Congress — was revealed to have used public funds to settle a sexual harassment claim from a staffer.
Buzzfeed reported on Monday night that Conyers “repeatedly made sexual advances to female staff that included requests for sexual favors, 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.”
The Michigan Democrat, first elected to Congress in 1964, reportedly “used congressional resources to fly in women they believed he was having affairs with,” according to documents obtained by Buzzfeed. Another Conyers aide “said she was tasked with driving women to and from Conyers’ apartment and hotel rooms.”
Conyers allegedly paid $27,000 in public funds to a female employee who had filed a claim against him with the secretive Office of Compliance in 2014. The documents BuzzFeed obtained have not been independently confirmed.
Conyers’ office did not respond to repeated requests for comment, though he denied the sexual harassment settlement to the Associated Press when contacted at his home in Detroit.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was not aware of any settlement, according to her office.
Other top Democrats, including Congressional Black Caucus members, declined to comment.
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