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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 03:37 PM
Original message
What was John Conyers thinking?
Conyers accepts responsibility for possible ethics violations
By Jonathan E. Kaplan and Jackie Kucinich

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) has "accepted responsibility" for possibly violating House rules by requiring his official staff to perform campaign-related work, according to a statement quietly released by the House ethics committee late Friday evening.

The top Republican and Democratic members on the ethics panel, Reps. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.), said in a statement that Conyers acknowledged a "lack of clarity" in communicating what was expected of his official staff and that he accepted responsibility for his actions.

" agreed to take a number of additional, significant steps to ensure that his office complies with all rules and standards regarding campaign and personal work by congressional staff," they stated. "We have concluded that this matter should be resolved through the issuance of this public statement."

http://www.thehill.com:8888/thehill/opencms/TheHill/News/Frontpage/121306/conyers.html


This isn't a very good start for the new congress.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 03:39 PM
Response to Original message
1. Nice smear. Guilty of bad communication is not the same as violating ethics.
It may unwittingly lead to such, but intent is key here.

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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. I like a lot about John Conyers....
but I think he was absolutely wrong and that it involved more than a lack of communication.

" The ethics inquiry began in December, 2003 when former staff members complained to the ethics panel, formerly named the House Committee on Standards and Official Conduct, that Conyers had required his official staffers to work on campaigns, babysit his children, and run personal errands. Conyers subsequently hired Stanley Brand, a well-respected defense lawyer with a long track record of defending public officials implicated in corruption cases."

"The Hill reported last March that two former Conyers aides alleged that he repeatedly violated House ethics rules by requiring aides to work on local and state
campaigns, and babysit and chauffeur his children. Deanna Maher, a former deputy chief of staff in the Detroit office, and Sydney Rooks, a former legal counsel in his district office, shared numerous letters, memos, e-mails, handwritten notes and expense reports with The Hill."

If the Democrats are going to profess open and honest government they need to do better than this.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. Obviously! Having staffers unwittingly babysit his kids
is just the result of unwittingly bad communication. :crazy:
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 03:41 PM
Response to Original message
2. Possibly that "talk of impeachment would guarantee
that a Republican House ethics committee would draw more attention to this."
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in_cog_ni_to Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 03:49 PM
Response to Original message
4. This is NOTHING compared to the friends of Abramoff scandal.
At least he's acknowledging the problem and promises to fix it. That's more than Delay, Ney, and Cunningham did.

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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 03:51 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Yes, AFTER the investigation.....
are we not going to hold the Democrats to the same standards we would republicans?

I don't want the same old shit, different day and party.
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in_cog_ni_to Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #6
14. Of course we hold them to the same standards, but OURS have always been higher.
Edited on Mon Jan-01-07 04:34 PM by in_cog_ni_to
Conyers owned up to what he did after the investigation.... Big whoop. The gal that filed the complaint is a repuke, BTW. Probably a plant. This is a NON-STORY in comparison to the repuke bullshit corruption. Can you honestly say that using a staffer to babysit and pick up laundry is the same as taking millions of dollars in bribe money and all the other crap the repukes are involved in...free trips to Scotland, exchanging millions of $$$$$ for legislation, yachts in exchange for legislation? Did Conyers pass a bill for this babysitting staffer? Didn't think so.

Please keep things in perspective.
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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. I don't have a problem with perspective....
nowhere did I say it was the same as free trips to Scotland, etc. It WAS however, an abuse of power and an abuse of employees. The staff have job descriptions I assume and are not his personal servants. Are you really going to play the "it wasn't as bad as so and so" game? It was bad enough.

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stillcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 03:51 PM
Response to Original message
7. seems like a long way to have to go...
to pitch a bitch...what ever rocks your boat, I guess.
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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Meaning what?
The Democrats should just do whatever and we should think it's ok?

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stillcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 06:12 PM
Response to Reply #8
28. Meaning ....
here is a historical chart of ethics violations and their conclusions...If you peruse through you get a gist of what constitutes a violation...
http://www.house.gov/ethics/Historical_Chart_Final_Version.htm
This was the report released

December 29, 2006
Statement of Chairman Doc Hastings and Ranking Minority Member Howard L. Berman Regarding Representative John Conyers
The Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a), initiated an informal inquiry in December 2003 into reports that members of the congressional staff of Representative John Conyers had performed campaign activity on official time and in some instances using official resources, and that some staff members may have been compelled to do campaign work or personal work for Representative Conyers. The assertions in the reports, if true, could implicate a number of laws and House rules applicable to Members, including: House Rule 23, clause 1 (requiring the conduct of a Member or employee to reflect creditably on the House of representatives); House Rule 23, clause 8 (requiring that congressional staff perform official duties commensurate with compensation); 31 U.S.C. 1301(a) and corresponding regulations of the Committee on House Administration (providing that official funds may be used only for the purposes appropriated); and 18 U.S.C 606 (prohibiting adverse personnel action or intimidation to secure a contribution of money or other valuable thing including services, for a political purpose).

Committee Rule 18(a) permits the Committee, in the absence of a filed complaint, to consider any information in its possession indicating that a Member, officer, or employee may have committed a violation of the Code of Official Conduct or any law, rule, regulation, or other standard of conduct . . . . The Chairman and Ranking Minority Member may jointly gather additional information concerning such a potential violation unless and until an investigative subcommittee is established.

During the course of their inquiry, the Chairman and Ranking Member asked for and received information, including documents, from several sources, including Representative Conyers. Committee staff also interviewed witnesses regarding the allegations.

In the course of providing information to the Committee, Representative Conyers acknowledged what he characterized as a lack of clarity in his communications with staff members regarding their official duties and responsibilities, and accepted responsibility for his actions. Representative Conyers also provided the Committee with documents indicating that he had begun taking steps to provide clearer guidance to staff regarding the requirement that campaign work and official work be separate.

After reviewing the information gathered during the inquiry, and in light of Representative Conyers cooperation with the inquiry, we have concluded that this matter should be resolved through the issuance of this public statement and the agreement by Representative Conyers to take a number of additional, significant steps to ensure that his office complies with all rules and standards regarding campaign and personal work by congressional staff.

Representative Conyers has agreed to the following conditions:
1. Prohibiting his personal congressional staff (other than his Chief of Staff) from performing any campaign-related work, including work done on a voluntary basis, during the 110th Congress, unless the staff member takes a paid position on his campaign while on leave without pay status and obtains prior written approval from the Committee.
2. Informing staff members in writing of the prohibition set forth above against the voluntary performance of campaign work.
3. Distributing a memorandum to each member of his personal congressional staff which clearly sets forth all House rules concerning (1) the performance of campaign and other non-official work by congressional staff members and (2) the prohibition against the performance of any campaign-related work being conducted in either his congressional or district offices. Additionally, this memorandum will explicitly state that the performance of campaign or other non-official work by staff members may not be required as a condition of their employment.
4. Directing that meetings of his personal congressional staff be held annually in which the House rules concerning staff participation in campaign activities are discussed and explained. In addition, a description of these rules will be made a part of the orientation for all new staff employees.
5. Continuing to maintain the detailed time-keeping system initiated by Rep. Conyers during the course of the Committees inquiry.
6. Requiring that all members of his congressional staff attend a briefing conducted by Committee counsel on the application of, and compliance with, applicable House rules concerning the performance of campaign and other non-official work by congressional staff members.
Provided that the above requirements are complied with, this matter will remain closed, and the Committee will take no further action on it.
If you find something unethical regarding Mr. Conyers in this report...I think it is of a personal nature.
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 03:53 PM
Response to Original message
9. He's probably thinking "This is a good time to do this"
Saddam, Ford and James Brown are eating up all the airtime--they'd have me for LUNCH if this was a slow news week....but this works out quite well, really. It gets the coverage it merits--in the HILL. And maybe a back section of the odd newspaper.

It could have been blown all out of proportion. The fact that it wasn't is a cause for cautious optimism, IMO.
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cigsandcoffee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 03:56 PM
Response to Original message
10. People in power develop a strong sense of entitlement.
It's a failing that crosses party lines, though I suspect Republicans are more often guilty of it.
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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. I think it was an abuse of
power and an abuse of his employees. I can imagine how I would react if my boss demanded I babysit his children.

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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 04:17 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. It happens all the time in corporations.
Edited on Mon Jan-01-07 04:18 PM by TahitiNut
As an internal auditor, I've seen a lot of it. I had to review an instance where a Director of IS had some of his shift workers pick up and deliver (using a company panel van) and set up folding chairs for a backyard party he was throwing (NOT for employees, though) and then had them report the time as worked on company time. Overtime, no less.

His penalty? "Don't do that!" Not even a slap on the wrists. (It turns out he was turning a blind eye to some book-cooking that the executives were doing.)

When people swim in waters infested with corruption, it's contagious.
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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 04:32 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. I suppose it does happen.....
I recently quit a job in part over demands to do things on my own time for the business.
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in_cog_ni_to Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #11
16. I was a Manager of an Optical Department for an Ophthalmologist
Edited on Mon Jan-01-07 04:45 PM by in_cog_ni_to
I was a licensed Optician and I babysat for his kids ALL THE TIME...IN the office and DURING my work day. It's not unheard of. I got paid to babysit or manage the Optical Dept.....either way, I still got paid. So did Conyers' secretary.
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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. That was your choice......
I wouldn't do it and I don't think it's right.
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in_cog_ni_to Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. AND...Conyers' secretary had a choice TOO. She could have quit. Instead she chose to file this
absurd complaint against him.
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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 04:51 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. She shouldn't have to make that choice....
people have job descriptions for a reason. She wasn't the only one to make a complaint, either.

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in_cog_ni_to Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. Who paid her wages? John Conyers did.
If she didn't want to do what he asked, she should have quit. She had an agenda. That's quite clear now. It doesn't matter if she wasn't the only one to file a complaint. If ANYONE doesn't want to do what their EMPLOYER asks them to do, they have a right to QUIT. If the babysitting was too much of a burden for her/them, they knew where the door was. Were they asked to do this stuff for free? Did they get paid?

This is a non-story put out by the repukes to make the Democrats look bad as they take over Congress. Thanks for doing their work for them. :eyes:

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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 06:24 PM
Response to Reply #24
29. Oh, BULLSHIT.....
just because an employer pays wages doesn't mean they are free to ask for whatever they want. Ever heard of a job description?

If this had been bush or cheney everyone would be talking about what sexist pigs they are.

The hypocrisy is overwhelming.
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in_cog_ni_to Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 06:34 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. IF the "job description" doesn't fit...
then QUIT! If enough emplyees quit because he asked them to babysit...he would probably stop asking them to do it OR put it in the job description. They ALL had an option...stay or go. THEY made the choices they made.

This is STILL a non-story used to trash the Democrats as they take over Congress. THIS compared to the repuke corruption is NOTHING. Thanks for trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill. Don't you think we have better things to worry about? How about worrying about getting the cabal to the Hague? That's more worthy of a DU thread.
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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 06:47 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. You can only think of one thing at at a time?
Excuse the smaller things and it becomes easier to excuse the large things. That's exactly what conservatives did....compromised and made the excuse that what Bill Clinton did was so much worse.

When women first starting filing sexual harassment suits conservatives said "if you don't like it, quit." Quitting and finding another job isn't so easy. I know. I've had to quit over things like this and at present am currently unemployed because of it.

If I worked for Conyers and he insisted I babysit I would file a complaint as well. I don't do babysitting.
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in_cog_ni_to Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 07:00 PM
Response to Reply #32
34. Oh Geez. Now you're comparing this to sexual harassment?
This has gone beyond what is a reasonable discussion. Do you KNOW that Conyers INSISTED the employees babysit? OR did he just tell them to/asked them to and they did it? Did any of them say NO and he INSISTED they MUST babysit? Do you know that to be a FACT?

Why do you dislike this man so much? He has done SO MUCH for our party and all you want to do is point out how bad he is for having his employees babysit?

I'm finished with this idiotic thread.
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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 07:07 PM
Response to Reply #34
36. I don't dislike Conyers at all....
as a matter of fact I like much of what he does and says but that doesn't mean he can't be wrong. And about this he was wrong.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 04:43 PM
Response to Original message
17. This is probably the third time this story has been hauled out to smear Conyers.
It is published again and again, and has been discussed repeatedly at D.U.

Also prominent for a while was the attempt to drag his wife into the limelight to create some notoriety on her behalf when she was accosted by a drunk in a bar who wouldn't leave her alone, and got slapped for her efforts.

Yeah, we had idiots here yammering about a Congressman's wife being expected to be above common barfighting, oh, jezus.

This all probably has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact John Conyers has been a constant thorn in Bush's side from the very moment he (Bush) stole the pResidency, and Conyers had to hold his hearings in tiny rooms around the size of an average broom closet.
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katsy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 04:46 PM
Response to Original message
18. He was wrong. He's acknowledged that he was wrong.
I can't imagine this requires a special council to prosecute this.

Most of all... this is not IMO a national problem and Conyer's constituents are the ones he must answer to.

BFD - babysitters. I can't get upset about this. If it were me against a super rich money making machine like the gop and I needed to campaign for my party, I'd bend the rules. If Conyer's were taking $ from abramoff or oil giants I may like to see his head roll but this is bs. Pure bs unless every freaking legislature and member of congress is investigated for the same level of "ethics" violation. That's the ticket... interview every aid to determine if they had to pick up someone's laundry. Some fucking perspective here. Let the aide quit or file suit against Conyers okay? Other than that, this is nothing more than gop bs to smear a brilliant and ETHICAL man.

Doesn't the SS babysitting the drunken bushco party girls? Maybe congress should have babysitters for commitee chairpeople. Who knows and who cares. Conyers is a human being with all of the inherent flaws. Asking his staff (if that's what he did) to babysit is a problem best left to him, his staff and constituents.

This article is pure bs and a waste of time. Better yet, any MI DUers willing to babysit for Rep. Conyers? We need him campaigning and investigating the real criminals in this administration.

What next... Kennedy took a pack of pens home from the office? Clinton swiped a pad of paper from a puke's office? Pelosi brought a grandchild to work one day and asked her staff to keep an eye on them in order to go the ladies room? The ME is burning and babysitting no-nos end up in msm. All of a sudden this is a BAD BAD new congress coming in? What crap. :eyes:
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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 04:54 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. it was more than babysitting while he went to the bathroom
"The Hill reported last March that two former Conyers aides alleged that he repeatedly violated House ethics rules by requiring aides to work on local and state campaigns, and babysit and chauffeur his children."

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katsy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. Then throw all the bums out okay?
Edited on Mon Jan-01-07 05:05 PM by katsy
All of them.

If this is the level of ethics investigations that concern people... they are myopic.

Let them investigate everyone because one never knows if some poor aide is afraid to file a complaint about babysitting. Maybe this is a widespread problem we need to address VERY publicly and borrow tons of chinese cash to investigate. Maybe every elected official who has asked for a cup of coffee from their aides or babysitting duties or these crimes that really really chip away at our constitution and humanity. Maybe some aide had to steal a box of pens for Kennedy.

Let's lynch Conyers as an example to those evil bastards that dare piss off an aide because aides don't have any alternative ways of dealing with their employment problems... poor babies.

Yeah - our new congress really sucks. :sarcasm:
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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 06:26 PM
Response to Reply #25
30. Damn right I have a problem with
any congressman or senator acting like his employee is his to do with as he wishes. People have job descriptions....every heard of those?
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katsy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 06:50 PM
Response to Reply #30
33. Well, we can't have that.
Edited on Mon Jan-01-07 07:00 PM by katsy
What are you suggesting?

Removing Conyers from his chairmanship? Stripping him of his seniority?

Hope that his constituents recall him or vote him out?

Would you consider this an infraction, misdemeanor or felony?

Rather than paint this entire congress as a problem... shall we call a special investigator to check out that all aides' job descriptions are adhered to? Maybe etch them onto our elected officials foreheads? Maybe just reinstall the puke congress because they didn't overstep their aides' job descriptions.

What? There MUST be a solution you have in mind. Because if you just want to give credence to a smear job... you've succeeded.
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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 07:03 PM
Response to Reply #33
35. I didn't say the whole congress was a problem....
I said it wasn't a very good start for them. It's not.

I'm suggesting he take real responsibility and apologize instead of saying it was a lack of communication. Having an employee babysit, chauffeur your kids around and work on state and local campaigns IS NOT a lack of communication.

So, anytime someone points out something a Democrat did wrong it's just a smear job? LOL Sure.

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katsy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #35
37. Are you sure he hasn't apologized?
Edited on Mon Jan-01-07 07:10 PM by katsy
Isn't this between him and his staff?

If msm plays THIS up it IS a smear job and you know it. Because surely the pukes behaved so well so it must be us at fault.

Maybe they'll dig up a blowjob somewhere and we can proactively impeach a few of our top contenders for the presidency.

Bastard Democrats. Always evading responsibility. Always wrong. Always abusing staff members.

Think I'm overreacting? Give it a few weeks and you'll hear more bullshit about Dems than one could ever want to know.
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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 07:16 PM
Response to Reply #37
39. No, it's not between him and his staff....
he is an elected official paid with tax dollars. He's accountable to the taxpayers.

No, I don't know that it is a smear job at all. Pointing out wrongdoing isn't always just a smear job. That's exactly what we need the press to do. I'm not saying that they have been fair in that job but I don't think we can discount wrongdoing if we know about it.

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katsy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 07:21 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. You forgot to answer this:
How do you know he hasn't apologized? Trust msm to tell you?

And this is most assuredly between him and his staff and his constituents who pay for his salary. Who voted Rep. Johnson (?) back in after finding cash in his freezer? His constituents that's who. Conyers' boo-boo is not and should not be put on trial in front on America unless a crime HAS in fact been committed.
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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 09:23 PM
Response to Reply #40
41. How do you know he has?
If he apologized why wasn't it reported in the official statement? I don't think it's just between him and his staff and constituents and nobody has put Conyers on trial. People's errors are discussed on this board every day of the week.
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katsy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 10:26 PM
Response to Reply #41
42. Innocent until proven guilty... of not apologizing.
I read the official record as posted earlier.

I have no problem with Representative Conyers.
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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 04:49 PM
Response to Original message
20. I'm sure Conyers is the 1st Congressperson to have someone who works for him babysit.
Next up, let's nail that Democrat for jaywalking. Because these crimes are no different than than, say, taking money for votes or fronting the corporate agenda.

There was a time when I'd probably be more pissed about something like this, but the last 15 years of Republican rule has made me realize how relative the application of law is. But let's see how the Republican Corporate Media plays this. I suspect they'll want to do a pre-emptive strike on Conyers and the Democrats to kneecap a real investigation on corruption in Congress.
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katsy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #20
27. If it's a Democrat...
let's nail them for jaywalking and be grateful that a gop impeached a president for a blowjob. They really showed us that we need to hold ourselves to a way higher level. That way we can destroy the Democratic party from within and their hands will be clean.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 07:09 PM
Response to Reply #20
38. Next they'll posthumously impeach JFK for letting John Jr play
under his desk. :crazy:

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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 05:05 PM
Response to Original message
26. very hard to keep them separate
really. ask any elected official that is running for reelection. The goal is the same, the paths must be separate.
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