WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. John Conyers will make an announcement about his political future on Tuesday morning, his attorney said late Monday afternoon.
In a tweet, attorney Arnold Reed said he has talked to Conyers (D-Mich.) and that “we will make an announcement” Tuesday morning on Mildred Gaddis’ show on WPZR-FM.
Reed also spoke to the Detroit Free Press shortly after making the remark on Twitter and said that he expects the congressman to be on the program — either in the studio or by phone — and discuss whether he will remain in the U.S. House or resign in the wake of several sexual harassment allegations.
“The important thing is he’ll be there,” Reed said of Conyers, 88, who has been hospitalized since the middle of last week with unknown symptoms believed to be related to stress.
Conyers, the longest-serving active member of the House, left Washington last Tuesday amid reports that some other members of the Congressional Black Caucus which he co-founded were urging him to resign to protect his legacy as a civil rights icon.
Over the last two weeks, Conyers has been accused of sexual harassment or other improper behavior by at least six former female members of his staff and of making a payment of more than $ 27,000 in taxpayer-backed office funds to settle one of those claims.
Conyers, however, has steadfastly denied the claims, saying he hasn’t harassed anyone and that the $ 27,000 payment to former staffer Marion Brown — who broke a nondisclosure agreement by speaking publicly last week — was a severance payment to her for her years of service, not as an any admission he did anything wrong.
Attorney Arnold Reed displays an affidavit while speaking with the media outside the home of Rep. John Conyers on Dec. 1 in Detroit.
(Stephen Perez/Getty Images)
Last week, calls for Conyers’ resignation grew louder, as House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, a key ally of Conyers, called on him to leave office in the wake of the allegations. That was followed up by calls for resignation by three of the other four Democratic members of the U.S. House from Michigan — Reps. Debbie Dingell of Dearborn, Dan Kildee of Flint Township and Sander Levin of Royal Oak.
At the time, Reed said that it would be up to Conyers, however, and not other politicians whether he ended a nearly 53-year-long career in Congress.
Conyers — a figure who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and employed Rosa Parks — was first elected in 1964.
If Conyers were to resign, it would help Democrats quiet demands that some action be taken against him.
The House Ethics Committee has already launched an investigation into the allegations but such probes often take months, if not years, to complete. A resignation would end the investigation immediately.
It would also lead Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to set in motion a process for a special election to fill Conyers’ seat — though that, too, could take months, during which the seat would sit empty.