Michigan Congressman John Conyers, who has been in Congress since 1964, stands accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, including several former staffers, but House leaders have been slow to react.
Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi did not initially condemn Conyers, calling him a civil rights “icon” during an appearance on Meet the Press on Sunday. However, Pelosi gave a press conference on Thursday, during which she called for Conyers’ resignation.
“[The allegations] are serious, disappointing, and credible,” said Pelosi at a press conference, followed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, who also called on Conyers to resign. Pelosi said, “These brave women are owed justice…I pray for Congressman Conyers and his family and wish them well. However, Congressman Conyers should resign.”
Last week’s testimony in the trial of Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) about a port security deal in the Dominican Republic may provide the basis for a bribery conviction. A State Department official, Todd Robinson, described how Menendez threatened to hold a Senate hearing if the Department did not pressure the Dominican government to honor a long-dormant contract with Menendez’ largest donor, Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen.
Last year, the Supreme Court significantly narrowed the grounds on which a public official can be prosecuted for bribery. The public official’s actions must include an “official act” in exchange for some consideration. It cannot simply be setting up a meeting, making a phone call, or other actions generally thought to be “constituent services.” Calling a meeting of a Senate subcommittee on Melgen’s behalf, however, would classify as an “official act.”
The trial of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez began earlier this month, but NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm says the media is so far missing the most important part of the case.
The New Jersey Democrat is facing six counts of bribery, three counts of honest services fraud, one count of falsifying congressional travel disclosures, and one count of interstate travel to carry out bribery.
The charges stem from Menendez’s relationship with Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist and a major donor to Menendez’s re-election campaign. According to the testimony of Melgen’s former pilot, Menendez took at least 16 separate trips on the private jet between 2008 and 2010, which prosecutors claim constituted bribes to the senator.
The indictment also alleges that, in exchange for these favors, the senator helped Dr. Melgen’s two mistresses gain visas to the United States. Menendez’s lawyers claim that the women obtained the visas on merit.
Congressman John Conyers is the subject of a recent review of his conduct by the Office of Congressional Ethics, a semi-independent organization charged with investigating misconduct by members of Congress and their staff. The Office has referred Conyers’ case to the House Ethics Committee.
In their initial report, the OCE found that there was “strong evidence” that Representative Conyers had continued to pay his Chief of Staff, after she had left his office, between April and August of last year.
According to NLPC President Peter Flaherty, “It is an open question whether the Ethics Committee will do anything about Conyers, whose corruption now spans decades. The Committee more often functions as a cover-up committee. Its whitewashes seem to be just one more service that the House leadership offers incumbents.”
A family of Democratic Congressional IT staffers is under investigation for stealing equipment from Congressional offices, possible money laundering, and potentially compromising the House of Representatives’ IT network.
The Capitol Police are investigating Imran Awan, his wife Hina Alvi, and two brothers Abid and Jamal Awan following a data breach this past February, and have barred them from accessing the House network as of March. IT staffers are shared across offices, meaning that the Awans were not employed by any single office.
Between 2009 and 2017, the Awans were paid roughly $4 million. Yet, according to Luke Rosiak, an investigative reporter for the Daily Caller , there is no sign of this money. Imran Awan and Hina Alvi lived in an unremarkable apartment and did not have any significant outward trappings of wealth.
Illinois Representative Luis Gutierrez recently referred to President Trump as a “con artist” on CNN’s “State of the Union”program. Gutierrez’s comments were in reference to allegations that the President Trump asked former FBI director James Comey to halt a federal investigation into then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
“[The President] knew exactly what he was doing,” Gutierrez said. “I know a con artist when I see one, and I saw a con artist that day.”
The twelve-term Democratic congressman has a history of trying to garner media attention. In March, Gutierrez participated in a sit-in at an ICE office to protest the Trump administration’s deportation policies, and was briefly placed in plastic restraints before the officers decided not to arrest him. “They threatened us with arrest. We said ‘We’re ready to go to jail,'” said Gutierrez. “We stood up to the bullies here…Unfortunately, tonight and tomorrow they will continue to prey … Read More ➡ “Corrupt Rep. Gutierrez Calls Trump ‘Con Artist’”
Former Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown of Florida was found guilty of 18 counts of fraud and tax evasion on Thursday. She was acquitted on four of the original 22 counts.
The charges stem from Brown’s financial relationship with the One Door for Education Foundation, which falsely purported to be a charity that granted scholarships to students from low income families. In reality, the One Door for Education Foundation was not a registered 501(c) (3) charitable organization and throughout its existence only awarded two scholarships to two students worth a total $1,200. According to NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm:
“This is another example of a member of Congress using a charity as a conduit for personal gain. We saw it in the case of former Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) and in the case of Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY). When a politician launches a so-called