RSS

Tag Archives: US Congress

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.”…

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Another Russian Owned Republican!

Been saying this for a while too…It’s more than just Putin’s Bitch.

This GOP Clown may get his orange jumpsuit before even getting in office.

BUSTED: Montana GOP candidate Greg Gianforte has financial ties to Russian companies under US sanctionsGreg Gianforte

Only days before absentee ballots will be mailed to Montana voters, the only statewide congressional election of 2017 has been thrown into pandemonium following revelations that GOP nominee Greg Gianforte invests in Russian companies under U.S. sanctions.

“The race to fill Montana’s vacant congressional seat has a huge shakeup,” ABC-Fox anchor David Winter concluded while introducing a story by reporter Kolby Crossley. “ABC Fox Montana has learned that Republican Greg Gianforte has financial ties to two Russian companies that have been sanctioned by the United States.”

“Gianforte owns close to 150 thousand dollars’ worth of shares in Vaneck Vectors Russia ETF and more than 92 thousand dollars in the IShares MSCF Russia ETF fund” which have significant holdings in Gazprom and Rosneft.

With absentee ballots for the May 25 special election going out on Monday, the timing of this Russian investment scandal couldn’t come at a worse time for Gianforte.

“It plays directly into the narrative that Gianforte’s campaign doesn’t want to unfold: that Gianforte is a wealthy person from New Jersey, who moved to Montana to build a trophy home and fence off public land while getting rich by outsourcing and other money schemes like these Russian ties,” explained an analysis at the anonymous Montana Cowgirl Blog.

“And it’s made even worse by the fact that he tried to hide this money,” continued the analysis, while pivoting to similarities with Donald Trump’s scandals. “Just like the current administration’s illegal ties to Russian spies, Russian Money and Russian influence, the cover-up is almost a bigger story.”

Gianforte is facing Democrat Rob Quist, who is an iconic figure in Montana.

Montana’s lone congressional seat was vacated when Ryan Zinke was confirmed as Interior Secretary. Republicans have held the seat since former Democratic Party Congressman Pat Willians announced he would retire after winning his 9th term during the 1994 GOP landslide.

Republicans are nervous about holding the seat and have been, “sounding the alarms” with the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) investing $1.2 million in tv ads with the Congressional Leadership Fund Super PAC investing another $800,000 in ads.

While Republicans are going all-in to hold the seat, Politico reporter Elena Schneider had a bombshell report on national Democrats withholding cash from Montana’s special election. This despite the surge beyond traditional support that Democrats saw with James Thompson in the Kansas special election and Jon Ossoff in the first round of the Georgia special election.

While the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committe (DCCC) may be largely surrendering in Montana, independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has promised to visit Montana to campaign for Quist. Both Sanders and Quist are supporters of Single Payer Health Care reform.

Gianforte’s financial ties to US-sanctioned Russian companies were originally unearthed by Ben Jacobs, a Washington, DC political reporter for the Guardian.

The Quist campaign is hammering Gianforte’s Russia connections.

Quist campaign spokesperson Tina Olechowski told the Guardian, “Montana voters deserve to know why Greg Gianforte held on to his shady Russian investments after Putin invaded Ukraine, and again when Russia was accused of interfering in the presidential election.”

“Instead Gianforte kept his Russian ties secret during his failed run for governor last year,” she continued. Gianforte was the only statewide Republican candidate to lose in Montana last year, when Donald Trump carried Montana by over 100,000 votes.

In fact, when the NRCC attacked Quist for performing at a nudist resort in Idaho, the Quist campaign told USA Today reporter Jessica Estepa, “This is just a naked attempt to distract voters from (Republican rival) Greg Gianforte’s shady Russian investments.”

Not only are absentee ballots being mailed on Monday, but Saturday night Q2 news anchor Jay Kohn, Chief Political Reporter Mike Dennison and Mikenzie Frost will be hosting a candidates debate that will almost certainly focus on Gianforte’s Russian connection. The debate will be broadcast live on KTVQ in Billings, KBZK in Bozeman, KXLF in Butte, KRTV in Great Falls, KTVH in Helena and KPAX in Missoula. The debate will also stream live on all Montana Television Network websites and begins at 7PM local time.

Image result for Trump Putin

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 29, 2017 in American Greed, High Crimes

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

US House Passes Anti-confederate Flag Bill

In a fine bit of election year electioneering, the US House has passed a bill limiting confederate flag displays…

The march against the Confederate flag continued Thursday — this time in Congress

A year after America suddenly and overwhelmingly began unraveling itself from the Confederate flag, here’s more evidence our relationship with it is ending.

On Thursday, the House of Representatives — including 84 Republicans — voted to make it illegal to drape or hoist the flag prominently in national veterans’ cemeteries, including over mass graves. Those who want to mark their ancestors’ spot with a Confederate flag could do so with a small one, but only on two days a year: Memorial Day and Confederates Memorial Day.

It’s unclear whether this new limitation on the Confederate flag is actually going to become law, since it hasn’t yet passed the Senate. But the House tends to be the more populist chamber of the two, and as such, a reflection of what the rest of America is thinking.

“Over 150 years ago, slavery was abolished,” said Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) who proposed the amendment. “Why in the year 2016 are we still condoning displays of this hateful symbol on our sacred national cemeteries?” The Hill’s Christina Marcos reports that no one spoke in opposition to it.

But many Republicans voted against it — 159, in fact — while about half as many (84) voted for it. And if Democrats have their way, the Confederate flag will be a campaign issue in the fall.

It’s no coincidence this comes after a racially motivated shooting in Charleston, S.C., nearly a year ago that killed nine black church members and spurred a shift in how Americans — and especially Southern Republican politicians — view the flag’s meaning. While acknowledging its symbolism of the South’s heritage, for the first time many prominent Republicans also acknowledged its ties to racism.

“That flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state,” said South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), who led the charge.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

That Muslim US President Thing

Once again – Ben Carson’s statement that a Muslim cannot be President of the United States has no Constitutional basis. Indeed, there is no religious requirement in the Constitution.

There are two serving Muslims in Congress, Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.).

Their thoughts on Uncle Ben’s latest outrage…

Muslim Congressmen Condemn Ben Carson Over Anti-Muslim Comments

Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.)

Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.), the two Muslim members of Congress, on Sunday condemned GOP presidential candidates Ben Carson and Donald Trump for making offensive comments about Islam.

Carson told NBC’s Chuck Todd Sunday that he would not support a Muslim becoming president because Islam is “inconsistent with the values and principles of America” and is incompatible with the U.S. Constitution. At a town hall event on Thursday, Trump declined to correct a man who claimed President Barack Obama is Muslim.

“For Ben Carson, Donald Trump, or any other Republican politician to suggest that someone of any faith is unfit for office is out of touch with who we are as a people,” Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, said in a statement. “It’s unimaginable that the leading GOP presidential candidates are resorting to fear mongering to benefit their campaigns, and every American should be disturbed that these national figures are engaging in and tolerating blatant acts of religious bigotry.

Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) called the famed neurosurgeon’s comments “simply ridiculous.”

Rep Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)

“Saying that the U.S. shouldn’t elect a Muslim U.S. president is absurd as saying we shouldn’t elect a neurosurgeon as president,” he said in a radio interview with Roland Martin.

“The comments made by Dr. Carson show, I think, he isn’t ready to be commander-in-chief of this country,” he added.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which calls itself the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., will on Monday call for Carson to withdraw from the race.

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Carson’s rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, also rebuked the neurosurgeon over his anti-Muslim comments.

And if it is any consolation, at least two Republican candidates, Ted Cruz, and Lindsay Graham “get it”

“You know, the Constitution specifies there shall be no religious test for public office and I am a constitutionalist,” Cruz said on Iowa public television. He also again declined to weigh in on President Barack Obama’s faith, saying it was a matter between him and God.

Earlier Sunday, Graham reacted to Carson’s remarks on Twitter by claiming the doctor “is not ready to be Commander-In-Chief. America is an idea, not owned by a particular religion.”

The presidential hopeful further called on Carson to apologize to American Muslims, arguing that although Carson was a “good doctor,” he was “clearly not prepared to lead a great nation.”

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Black Caucus Caves

After a week of the typical Republican racial pandering, the Congressional Black Caucus has followed the Democrat tradition…

And turned chicken-isht.

What they should be doing is offering South Carolina Representative Scott a seat at the table…

While challenging Alan West’s legitimacy to hold a seat in Congress.

Criminals and Felons quite simply should not be eligible to hold a seat in Congress.



The "New" Democrat Donkey - All Dressed Out With a Yellow Stripe

Black caucus says it will welcome Republicans

The Congressional Black Caucus says it will allow two recently elected black Republicans to join the group if they ask.

The all-Democratic caucus had wavered over the issue since Tim Scott of South Carolina and Allen West of Florida were elected last week. Chairwoman Barbara Lee had pointed to the group’s liberal mission statement as a potential point of conflict.

But in a statement Tuesday, the group said the two would be welcomed if they request membership.

West has said he wants to join to bring a new perspective to the group. Scott hasn’t decided.

The 42-member caucus has had two Republican members in its four-decade history. The most recent black Republican in Congress, J.C. Watts of Oklahoma, declined to join.

The black caucus includes a handful of moderates but is mostly made up of liberals serving in safe Democratic districts. The addition of Republicans would likely shake up its weekly meetings and require its leaders to navigate around them to discuss strategy.

West, a former Army officer, said in an interview he’s eager to steer the group away from “failing liberal social welfare policies that have caused the demise of the black community.”

West said the black caucus must confront overwhelming issues in the African-American community including high teen pregnancy, incarceration and unemployment rates. Those are issues that require “competence and character,” not the caucus’ “monolithic voice that continues to promote victimization and dependence.”

West defeated Democratic Rep. Ron Klein despite opposition from African-American Democrats such as Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida.

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 10, 2010 in Black Conservatives

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Terrorist Attack Against ACORN

Defund the…

Defunders?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Rachael makes an important point here –

Why were Democrats in such a hurry to help Republicans with their votes to pass a bill to defund ACORN?

Surely one of the 300 or so Lawyers on the Hill knew the Bill was unconstitutional?

My…my…my…

This smells of an End Run.

more about “Rachel Maddow:How did ACORN become a …“, posted with vodpod
 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 28, 2009 in The Post-Racial Life

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Joe Wilson Smackdown!

House Votes to Rebuke Wilson for Shouting at Obama

Joe Wilson reprimanded by Congress

Joe Wilson reprimanded by Congress

In a rare action, the House rebuked one of its members Tuesday for shouting “you lie” at President Obama last Wednesday, ending a week-long standoff during which Democrats demanded a public apology that the lawmaker refused to give.

On a largely party-line vote, the House voted 240 to 179 to ratify a “resolution of disapproval” against Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) for interrupting Obama’s speech last week before a joint session of Congress. Just 12 Democrats opposed the resolution against Wilson, while seven Republicans supported the disapproval motion. Five Democrats voted “present,” rather than cast a yes or no vote. Read the rest of this entry »

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 15, 2009 in News

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: