Will the Black Caucus Lose a Ranking Member? Death and bad ethics are the only things that would appear to be able to take a member of the Congressional Black Caucus out of a senior position in Congress. At the beginning of this Congress there was a load of grumbling from younger members of Congress that the older members were staying in the spotlight too long. Of course this argument would have to include the the leadership House Democrats continue to roll out, the average age of which is an inconceivable 75 years old.
Rep. John Conyers will turn 89 in May of 2018. As one of the founders of the Congressional Black Caucus, one would have thought that the standard line coming from the CBC’s rank-and-file would have been to “allow the ethics process to play out.” That didn’t happen. On November 23, Rep. Greg Meeks, no doubt trying to assist his New York homie Rep. Jerrold Nadler, decided to get out in front and say he felt that Conyers should step down from his position as the Ranking Member of House Judiciary given the seriousness of the allegations stemming from a leaded document that showed the settlement paid to a staffer Conyers had allegedly sexually harassed.
“He should step down as the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee and be subject to this ethics investigation so it can be determined whether or not there’s a practice or pattern,” Meeks said on CNN. Ranking members should step down based on allegations? That’s would be an interesting precedent.
Many have said that the real John Conyers had departed Congress years ago and that the one we see now is nothing more than a de facto cardboard cutout for staff to manage and make 98 percent of the decisions over.
A statement released by the CBC on Tuesday, November 21, 2017, contained the line, “the CBC has been made aware of some very serious and disturbing allegations against our colleague John Conyers, as well as his statement emphatically denying these allegations.”
The tide of guilty until proven innocent is high when it comes to the issue of sexual harassment.
Statement from CBC Chairman on Sexual Harassment, Assault Allegations Made Against Members of Congress
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA-02), the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, released the following statement in response to sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations made against members of Congress:
“The Congressional Black Caucus’ (CBC) position on sexual harassment and sexual assault is clear: no matter the perpetrator, no matter the victim, those responsible for sexual harassment and/or sexual assault must be held accountable.
“The CBC has been made aware of some very serious and disturbing allegations against our colleague John Conyers, as well as his statement emphatically denying these allegations. We encourage and expect Mr. Conyers to cooperate fully with any and all investigations into this matter.
“Those who come to work in Congress and elsewhere have a right to a workplace free of unwanted sexual behavior and the CBC will continue our efforts to protect this right. In October, our members introduced and supported legislation to require mandatory sexual harassment training for congressional staff and we will support efforts to require mandatory sexual harassment training for members.
“However, we have not waited on congressional action when it comes to this issue. We held a sexual harassment training for CBC chiefs of staff on Monday, November 20 and will schedule the same training for CBC members and other staffers after Thanksgiving. We also will support other efforts currently underway to improve the sexual harassment complaint process in Congress.”