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John Conyers and How Congress Covers Up Sexual Exploitation

If you saw my conversation with my board curmudgeon,  you would have seen I worked in the Halls of Congress for some years as part of my work for a computer manufacturer in my early career. So I am aware of the extent to which Congress excludes themselves from compliance with certain laws (like EEO) and covers up malfeasance.

If they are digging up Conyer’s dirt…

There is going to be hell on the Hill shortly – Because beside some of these guys, Conyers is a relative saint.

And Conyers ain’t no saint.

She Said A Powerful Congressman Harassed Her. Here’s Why You Didn’t Hear Her Story.

“When you make private settlements, it doesn’t warn the next woman or the next person going into that situation.”

Michigan Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat and the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with a former employee who alleged she was fired because she would not “succumb to [his] sexual advances.”

Documents from the complaint obtained by BuzzFeed News include four signed affidavits, three of which are notarized, from former staff members who allege that Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Judiciary Committee, repeatedly made sexual advances to female staff that included requests for sex acts, 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. Four people involved with the case verified the documents are authentic.

Conyers confirmed he made the settlement in a statement Tuesday afternoon, hours after this story was published, but said that he “vehemently denied” the claims of sexual harassment at the time and continues to do so.

And the documents also reveal the secret mechanism by which Congress has kept an unknown number of sexual harassment allegations secret: a grinding, closely held process that left the alleged victim feeling, she told BuzzFeed News, that she had no option other than to stay quiet and accept a settlement offered to her.

“I was basically blackballed. There was nowhere I could go,” she said in a phone interview. BuzzFeed News is withholding the woman’s name at her request because she said she fears retribution.

Last week the Washington Post reported that Congress’s Office of Compliance paid out $17 million for 264 settlements with federal employees over 20 years for various violations, including sexual harassment. The Conyers documents, however, give a glimpse into the inner workings of the office, which has for decades concealed episodes of sexual abuse by powerful political figures.

The woman who settled with Conyers launched the complaint with the Office of Compliance in 2014, alleging she was fired for refusing his sexual advances, and ended up facing a daunting process that ended with a confidentiality agreement in exchange for a settlement of more than $27,000. Her settlement, however, came from Conyers’ office budget rather than the designated fund for settlements.

Congress has no human resources department. Instead, congressional employees have 180 days to report a sexual harassment incident to the Office of Compliance, which then leads to a lengthy process that involves counseling and mediation, and requires the signing of a confidentiality agreement before a complaint can go forward.

After this an employee can choose to take the matter to federal district court, but another avenue is available: an administrative hearing, after which a negotiation and settlement may follow.

Some members of Congress have raised major concerns with the current system over the years, but the calls for an overhaul have grown louder in the post-Weinstein era. Members have argued that 90 days is too long to make a person continue working in the same environment with their harasser; that interns and fellows should be eligible to pursue complaints through this process; and that it is unfair for a victim to have to pay for legal representation while the office of the harasser is represented for free by the House’s counsel.

In this case, one of Conyers’ former employees was offered a settlement, in exchange for her silence, that would be paid out of Conyers’ taxpayer-funded office budget. His office would “rehire” the woman as a “temporary employee” despite her being directed not to come into the office or do any actual work, according to the document. The complainant would receive a total payment of $27,111.75 over the three months, after which point she would be removed from the payroll, according to the document.

The draft agreement viewed by BuzzFeed News was unsigned, but congressional employment records match the timing and amounts outlined in the document. The woman left the office and never went public with her story.

The process was “disgusting,” said Matthew Peterson, who worked as a law clerk representing the complainant, and who listed as a signatory to some of the documents.

“It is a designed cover-up,” said Peterson, who declined to discuss details of the case but agreed to characterize it in general terms. “You feel like they were betrayed by their government just for coming forward. It’s like being abused twice.”

Other lawyers named as representing the accuser could not be reached for comment. The Office of Compliance did not confirm or deny that it had dealt with the case.

“Pursuant to the Congressional Accountability Act, the OOC cannot comment on whether matters have or have not been filed with the office,” Laura Cech, publications and outreach manager of the Office of Compliance, told BuzzFeed News in an email when asked to comment on this case.

Two staffers alleged in their signed affidavits that Conyers used congressional resources to fly in women they believed he was having affairs with. Another said she was tasked with driving women to and from Conyers’ apartment and hotel rooms.

Rep. Conyers did not admit fault as part of the settlement. His office did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Monday, but released a public statement on the matter Tuesday afternoon.

The documents were first provided to BuzzFeed News by Mike Cernovich, the men’s rights figure turned pro-Trump media activist who propagated a number of false conspiracy theories including the “Pizzagate” conspiracy. Cernovich said he gave the documents to BuzzFeed News for vetting and further reporting, and because he said if he published them himself, Democrats and congressional leaders would “try to discredit the story by attacking the messenger.” He provided them without conditions. BuzzFeed News independently confirmed the authenticity of the documents with four people directly involved with the case, including the accuser.

In her complaint, the former employee said Conyers repeatedly asked her for sexual favors and often asked her to join him in a hotel room. On one occasion, she alleges that Conyers asked her to work out of his room for the evening, but when she arrived the congressman started talking about his sexual desires. She alleged he then told her she needed to “touch it,” in reference to his penis, or find him a woman who would meet his sexual demands.

She alleged Conyers made her work nights, evenings, and holidays to keep him company.

In another incident, the former employee alleged the congressman insisted she stay in his room while they traveled together for a fundraising event. When she told him that she would not stay with him, she alleged he told her to “just cuddle up with me and caress me before you go.”

“Rep. Conyers strongly postulated that the performing of personal service or favors would be looked upon favorably and lead to salary increases or promotions,” the former employee said in the documents.

Three other staff members provided affidavits submitted to the Office Of Compliance that outlined a pattern of behavior from Conyers that included touching the woman in a sexual manner and growing angry when she brought her husband around.

One affidavit from a former female employee states that she was tasked with flying in women for the congressman. “One of my duties while working for Rep. Conyers was to keep a list of women that I assumed he was having affairs with and call them at his request and, if necessary, have them flown in using Congressional resources,” said her affidavit. (A second staffer alleged in an interview that Conyers used taxpayer resources to fly women to him.)

The employee said in her affidavit that Conyers also made sexual advances toward her: “I was driving the Congressman in my personal car and was resting my hand on the stick shift. Rep. Conyers reached over and began to caress my hand in a sexual manner.”

The woman said she told Conyers she was married and not interested in pursuing a sexual relationship, according to the affidavit. She said she was told many times by constituents that it was well-known that Conyers had sexual relationships with his staff, and said she and other female staffers felt this undermined their credibility.

“I am personally aware of several women who have experienced the same or similar sexual advances made towards them by Rep[.] John Conyers,” she said in her affidavit.

A male employee wrote that he witnessed Rep. Conyers rub the legs and other body parts of the complainant “in what appeared to be a sexual manner” and saw the congressman rub and touch other women “in an inappropriate manner.” The employee said he confronted Conyers about this behavior.

“Rep. Conyers said he needed to be ‘more careful’ because bad publicity would not be helpful as he runs for re-election. He ended the conversation with me by saying he would ‘work on’ his behavior,” the male staffer said in his affidavit.

The male employee said that in 2011 Conyers complained a female staffer was “too old” and said he wanted to let her go. The employee said he set up a meeting in December 2011 to discuss “mistreatment of staff and his misuse of federal resources.” The affidavit says that Conyers “agreed that he would work on making improvements as long as I worked directly with him and stopped writing memos and emails about concerns.”

Another female employee also attested that she witnessed Conyer’s advances, and said she was asked to transport women to him. “I was asked on multiple occasions to pick up women and bring them to Mr. Conyers[‘] apartment, hotel rooms, etc.”

BuzzFeed News reached out to several former Conyers staffers, all of whom did not want to speak on the record. One former staffer, who did not want to be named, said she was frustrated by the secretive complaint process.

“I don’t think any allegations should be buried…and that’s for anyone, not just for this particular office, because it doesn’t really allow other people to see who these individuals are,” said the former staffer. “When you make private settlements, it doesn’t warn the next woman or the next person going into that situation.”

Another staffer said Conyers’ reputation made people fearful to speak out against him. Aside from being the longest-serving House member and the ranking member of a powerful committee, Conyers is a civil rights icon. He was lauded by Martin Luther King Jr. and is a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

“Your story won’t do shit to him,” said the staffer. “He’s untouchable.”

In a statement to BuzzFeed News, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said she was not aware of the settlement.

“The current process includes the signing of non-disclosure agreements by the parties involved. Congresswoman Jackie Speier has introduced legislation that will provide much-needed transparency on these agreements and make other critical reforms,” Pelosi said in the statement. “I strongly support her efforts.”…

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Bad Business Decision – David Duke

Between the Chump and his white right followers, the country is massively pushing back and that is growing….Fast.

There have been literally dozens of “unfriendings” of racist neo-nazi and white supremacist trolls by corporations and citizenry across the nation as the racist scum have been uncovered. The simple fact being white Americans don’t want these violent terrorists in their midst. Part of that is due to a social lesson from back in the pre-Civil Rights era where these monsters were able to terrify white citizens into compliance with their hate. Normal white folks had to fear the KKK and white supremacists not only from a violent attack standpoint but retribution through social ostracism. What held Jim Crow up was in large part…Fear.

The Chumph’s encouragement and support of these neo-Nazi, KKK, alt-right and other racist and white supremacist groups has indeed fueled the growth of these groups…But it has also lit a level of anti-white-nationalist opposition not seen since pre-Nazi Germany. That opposition ranges from verbal rejection to protests…To outright physical attacks by the more extreme antifa elements directed against the right wing hate groups.

The DHS is examining declaring the antifa movement as a “Domestic Terrorist” organization. After years of the white-right threatening America with their guns, elements of the far left have begun up-arming themselves. Because these left wing groups, unlike their right-wing counterparts don’t have a history of mass murder and bombings – the DHS has largely ignored their growth.And as such has no idea of their organization, the scope of their organization, and only an inkling relative to how fast they’re growing. Declaring then terrorists is part of the white nationalist Chumph’s government strategy to eradicate opposition to their fascist and illegitimate regime. Not much different than the white-wing trying to demonize BLM.

The one way to insure that a group becomes extremist and violent is for the government to attack it. It is what produced groups like the Weathermen back in the 60’s, and it is what will lead to increasing violence in the streets today.

At some point this blows up.

In the meantime, anti-racist sentiment in the general population is becoming costly for the bigots.

David Duke with Spanish white nationalists

Staff walkout forces Minneapolis bar to close after owner gets outed as David Duke supporter

A Minneapolis, MN bar closed its doors on Friday after its staff walked off the job, performers canceled their engagements and customers threatened to boycott over owner Julius de Roma’s donation to the failed U.S. Senate campaign of ex-Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

The Hill reported Saturday night that Club Jäger faced a swift and heavy backlash after the Minneapolis City Pages revealed that the de Roma donated $500 to Duke’s campaign.

“Here’s a hard fact: De Roma donated $500 to David Duke’s Senate campaign in October 2016, one month before the general election, and about 40 years after Duke went public as one of America’s proudest racists,” wrote City Pages‘ Mike Mullen earlier this week.

“A review of Federal Elections Commission (FEC) files shows De Roma has donated to libertarian causes in the past — he supported both Ron Paul and Rand Paul — and has occasionally given to Republicans; last year he donated to the Trump presidential campaign. The October 2016 donation appears to be his first time supporting Duke, a frequent candidate for office,” the report continued.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune said Saturday, “Former employees, who asked not to be identified, confirmed Friday that Club Jäger was closed and the 17 employees at the North Loop bar were out of jobs. Employees were incensed when they learned about the owner’s donation to Duke, and the decision to close the business was made by those who ran it, not the owner, they said.”

De Roma defended the donation in a TV interview as his right.

“It’s just free speech,” he insited to WCCO. “What do you expect? It’s basically something that is blown up beyond what it should be.”

Last week, a California restaurant owner was also outed as a donor to Duke and is currently facing a backlash of his own.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBpcD4oxS7U

 

 

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Another One Bites the Dust…Fox News Sexual Predation Epidemic

Damn! Did Faux News put in the Job Requirements a requirement for sexual predators? Seems like about the 50th senior Faux News cable manager who has gotten canned for not keeping his hands to himself.

“Fair and Balanced”?

How about “Freaky and Bullying”?

‘Making Money’ host Charles Payne suspended from Fox Business Network after harassment allegations

Making Money” host Charles Payne was suspended from Fox Business Network, a company spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The spokeswoman said Payne had been “suspended pending further investigation” and rotating sub-hosts would fill in on the Twenty-First Century Fox-owned cable network .

Payne did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Media reports from BuzzFeed and Variety surfaced earlier on Thursday attributing the suspension to allegations of harassment. http://bit.ly/2sSwgaH

The company did not immediately confirm whether Payne was suspended over the allegations.

Fox’s spokeswoman said in a statement: “We take issues of this nature extremely seriously and have a zero tolerance policy for any professional misconduct. This matter is being thoroughly investigated and we are taking all of the appropriate steps to reach a resolution in a timely manner.”

In June, Payne signed a multi-year contract to continue as host of “Making Money.”

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2017 in Faux News

 

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Staff Begins Deserting the Sinking SS Trump Scow

What Color is Your Parachute?

Image result for sinking trump ship

The worst job in Washington right now: Working for Trump

As Donald Trump has grown increasingly angry and frustrated with his White House staff, the beleaguered targets of his ire have a quietly roiling gripe of their own — their boss, the president himself.

Since he fired FBI Director James B. Comey, Trump has lurched through crises of his own making — from the explosive report Monday that he had revealed highly classified intelligence to Russian officials to the bombshell Tuesday thathe had urged Comey to end the federal investigation into Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser.

In his wake remain his exhausted aides and deputies, the frequent targets of Trump’s wrath as they struggle to control an uncontrollable chief executive and labor to explain away his stumbles.

Wednesday evening brought yet another challenging development for the White House, as the Justice Department announced a special counsel to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

Some White House staffers have turned to impeachment gallows humor. Other mid-level aides have started contacting consultants, shopping their résumés. And at least one senior staffer has begun privately talking to friends about what a post-White House job would look like, according to two people close the staffer…

Image result for sinking trump ship

 
 

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The Racist Alt-Right Gets Their First Seat in the Whites Only House

Of the first two Chumph hires…One is a racist POS…

Image result for Steve Bannon racist

Trump names Priebus as chief of staff, Bannon as chief strategist

President-elect Donald Trump announced on Sunday that he has chosen Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as his White House chief of staff, putting his trust in an establishment figure after railing against the political establishment from the start of his candidacy.

Steve Bannon, a Breitbart News executive and leader of the so-called “alt-right” movement, will serve as Trump’s chief strategist and senior counselor.

 “I am thrilled to have my very successful team continue with me in leading our country,” Trump said in a statement. “Steve and Reince are highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory. Now I will have them both with me in the White House as we work to make America great again.”

The announcement caps days of speculation about which aides will oversee the White House, roles that will be particularly important because the president-elect lacks Washington experience. In picking Priebus, Trump appears to be trying to allay concerns of congressional Republicans, many of whom have relationships with the RNC chairman. Some of them view Bannon, whose incendiary Breitbart website has aggressively targeted Ryan and the Republican establishment, with suspicion.

Image result for Steve Bannon racist alt-right

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2016 in The Definition of Racism, The New Jim Crow

 

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Top Black Staffers Flee RNC

Apparently conditions n the Republican Party have caused an exodus of even die hard black conservatives from the Republican National Committee. Not all are leaving the Party, but there does seem to be a movement to jump the rotted scow of a Republican ship, before it sinks. Although none will say it, it appears the siren call to racists by the Party’s leading candidate, Trump, has become so toxic as to penetrate even black conservatives notoriously thick cast iron stomachs.

Top Black Staffers Leave The Republican National Committee

The RNC, which has made broadening its base a priority, just lost its head of black outreach.

The Republican National Committee is losing the person who leads the GOP’s outreach to black communities, as first reported by NBC News and confirmed by The Huffington Post.

Kristal Quarker-Hartsfield, the national director of African-American Initiatives at the RNC, is leaving the organization to work for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) as his director of intergovernmental affairs. Her last day is set to be Friday, and she is the second black top staffer to depart the RNC this month.

Quarker-Hartsfield joins several other staffers of color who have departed the RNC recently. Orlando Watson, communications director for black media, left earlier this month. Tara Wall and Raffi Williams, son of Fox News political analyst Juan Williams, both left their press positions at the RNC late last year. 

RNC Chair Reince Priebus has said that expanding the party and reaching out to groups of people who don’t usually vote Republican are priorities. After the 2012 elections, he famously released an autopsy report concluding that the GOP needed to broaden its base if it wanted to survive a changing country.

“The RNC cannot and will not write off any demographic or community or region of this country,” Priebus said at the time.

But the GOP’s presidential front-runner, Donald Trump, threatens to upend much of that work with his incendiary comments about women, immigrants, protesters andMuslims that appall many members of his own party.

Asked about her decision to depart, Quarker-Hartsfield told HuffPost, “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the RNC. It has been an honor to work for Chairman Priebus during an exciting time in politics. It has been exciting to have a front row seat to a national Republican movement to maintain the House and win back the Senate. Chairman Priebus is an innovative leader who empowers his team, and serves my Party as a humble servant leader.”

Williams denied that he left the RNC because of Trump.

“I left because I was just ready for something new. They were good to me, they treated me very well and I have no complaints about the place,” he told HuffPost. “I think it’s a part of the natural cycle of the RNC. People come and go.”

A recent USA Today poll showed that if Trump faces off against Democrat Hillary Clinton in November, voters of color would overwhelmingly reject the business mogul. Black voters were the most pronounced, backing Clinton 67 percent of the time.

 

 

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The US Senate’s Diversity Problem…

No real surprise here in America’s Last Plantation. Not much has changed since the 70’s when “The Hill” was one of my assigned accounts and I had reason to frequent the Capital and Office buildings.

The invisible folks of color who actually make the physical machinery of the Capital run

The Senate Has Plenty Of Racial Diversity, But Not The Kind You Brag About

High-level Senate staffers are overwhelmingly white. Low-level service workers are overwhelmingly black and Latino.

To a casual observer, the halls of Congress look pretty white. But according to Anthony Thomas, people of color abound there, so long as you know where to find them.

“It’s all black and Hispanic people downstairs,” said Thomas, a 23-year-old African-American from the suburb of New Carrollton, Maryland.

Thomas works as a dishwasher in the Senate cafeteria in the basement of the Dirksen building. His duties include catering special parties held in the Capitol and the Senate office buildings, where lawmakers and staff rub elbows with lobbyists and other power brokers. Though there are exceptions, it’s mostly white people drinking and dining, and people of color like Thomas cleaning up after them, he said.

A report released in December by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies found that the most influential Senate staffers are disproportionately white. Among senior-level Senate staff — chiefs of staff, legislative directors and other folks who ultimately shape the laws we all live by — a mere 7.1 percent are people of color, researchers found. Yet people of color comprise 36 percent of the U.S. public at large. (There may well be more diversity among mid- and low-level Senate staff, but no such numbers are available.)

So where is all the Senate’s diversity? Apparently, much of it is concentrated at the opposite end of the power structure.

For the past year and a half, a group called Good Jobs Nation, funded by the Change to Win federation of labor unions, has been organizing janitorial and food workers in the Senate offices and the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. The group compiled a database of 160 rank-and-file employees it assumes would be eligible to vote if workers filed for a union election. (SEIU, a member of Change to Win, lost a union election among Senate dining employees three years ago, though the union could file for another election.)

When the group examined demographics, it found the makeup of the service workforce to be the exact opposite of the senior-level Senate staff.

The low-wage workers were almost exclusively people of color — a whopping 97 percent, according to a demographic breakdown Good Jobs Nation provided to The Huffington Post (the breakdown did not identify individual workers). That number shouldn’t be all the surprising, given the demographics of D.C. — a majority of residents are people of color — and the way low-wage food and janitorial jobsalready skew heavily toward minorities in the U.S. at large, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A caveat: This was not a scientific study. The database was compiled through on-the-ground outreach done by the group’s organizers, not through government records or an official survey. And since the group is only organizing rank-and-file employees, the numbers don’t account for middle management, where the workforce appears more mixed. Yet the figures should ring true for anyone who’s taken a close look at the workers cleaning the dishes and mopping the floors in the Senate.

“I think what’s happening at the Capitol reflects a larger trend in our economy — the gap between the knowledge economy workers and the service-sector workers,” said Joseph Geevarghese, director of Good Jobs Nation. “You’ve got a class of workers who are higher paid, and then you have an underclass of service workers who are low-paid and struggling to make ends meet.”…More

A fairly representative sample of the higher level staff, this one from Iowa

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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