Rep. John Conyers, who has been battling sexual harassment allegations by former female staffers, says he is retiring and won’t seek re-election next year.
Conyers told The Mildred Gaddis Show on WPZR-FM Tuesday that this will be his final two-year term. The 88-year-old Democrat says he is endorsing his son, also named John Conyers, to take his seat in Congress.
Earlier reports quoted Michigan state Sen. Ian Conyers, a grandson of John Conyers’ brother, as saying he also plans to run for the 13th District congressional seat.
The eldest Conyers, who was first elected in 1964, easily won re-election last year in the heavily Democratic 13th District, west of Detroit surrounding the city of Dearborn.
The House ethics committee has been reviewing multiple harassment allegations against Conyers.
Among Conyers’ accusers, Marion Brown says he repeatedly propositioned her for sex during more than a decade working for him. Elisa Grubbs, another former staffer, says he slid his hand up her skirt in church.
The ethics committee will likely continue to investigate Conyers, even though the veteran Democrat has announced plans to retire.
The ethics panel retains jurisdiction over Conyers as long as the 27-term Democrat remains in Congress, and a senior legislative aide says the normal course would be for the ethics inquiry to continue.
The aide spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the individual wasn’t authorized to discuss it publicly.
Conyers has had a consequential tenure in Congress, “but no matter how great the legacy, it is no licence to harass or discriminate,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday.
The women who came forward with allegations of sexual harassment were “owed the justice of this announcement.”
Pelosi had called on Conyers to step down amid allegations of sexual harassment by former members of his staff.
She said Congress must now work on legislation to create greater transparency and accountability when it comes to reporting and resolving harassment cases.
Pelosi said, “I pray for Congressman Conyers and his family and wish them well.”
Lisa Bloom, an attorney for one of Conyers’s accusers, says her client, Marion Brown, “is ready, willing and able to testify as to her sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Conyers.”
Brown reached a confidential settlement with Conyers over sexual harassment allegations, but broke the confidentiality agreement to speak publicly last week.