• Home

After Conyers resigns, what's next on misconduct front?

Posted: Updated:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The resignation of Democratic Rep. John Conyers, the longest-serving member of the House, brings renewed focus to allegations of sexual harassment in Congress and fresh questions of what's next as lawmakers confront a national reckoning with high-profile cases that have rocked Hollywood, the media and now Washington.
    
The 27-term Michigan lawmaker stepped down Tuesday, becoming the first Capitol Hill politician to lose his job in the torrent of sexual misconduct allegations. Still in Congress and caught up in the swirl of accusations are Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., and Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas - all of whom say they won't quit. And next week, Alabama voters could send GOP candidate Roy Moore to the Senate despite multiple complaints, including one that he molested a 14-year-old girl decades ago when he was in his 30s.
    
A few questions in the aftermath of Conyers' announcement:
    
___
    
Q: What happens to the Ethics Committee investigation of Conyers?
    
A: It's likely over. The committee's jurisdiction extends to current members of Congress and their employees. When a lawmaker resigns, the committee loses jurisdiction over that member. The resignation last year of Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Penn., after his conviction in a Philadelphia racketeering case serves as an example. One day after the resignation, the committee issued a statement stating, "The Committee considers this matter closed."
    
___
    
Q: Could Conyers face potential lawsuits from the women alleging sexual harassment?
    
A: Attorney Lisa Bloom says it's unlikely because Congress has put in place a strict timeline for bringing complaints forward. Complaints must be made within 180 days of the alleged violation of the law. Also, to file a complaint with the Office of Compliance, accusers must first enter into mediation, with a nondisclosure agreement attached, followed by a mandatory 30-day "cooling off" period. After completion, a victim may either file a formal complaint or a federal lawsuit. The process is so arduous that many victims either settle or decide against going through the reporting at all. Bloom says, "Most of the people I'm talking to, their claims are beyond the 180-day time window."
    
___
    
Q: Will the Conyers case bring changes to the way sexual harassment cases involving members of Congress are settled?
    
A: Bloom says that's the goal. "The next step for us is reforming the system," Bloom said. Bloom said women should have more time to bring their case and they should not be forced into confidentiality agreements and settlements funded by the public. "There should be more transparency and more accountability," Bloom said.
    
Lawmakers have introduced various bills to ensure greater transparency. The House and Senate have passed legislation to require mandatory training for lawmakers and staff.
    
___
    
Q: With Conyers out, who is the most senior member in the House now?
    
A: Republican Rep. Don Young of Alaska will become the most senior member in the House. Young, 84, is serving his 23rd term in the House. Young can be blunt and brusque. Two months ago, he apologized to Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., for addressing her during a debate as "young lady" and saying she "doesn't know a damn thing what she's talking about." Young was offering an amendment about wildlife management on national preserves in his state when Jayapal spoke in opposition. Young later apologized, saying he has a tendency to "get very defensive about my state."
    
___
    
Q: Will Conyers still get his congressional pension?
    
A: Yes. Conyers has not been charged with any crime. Not only that, crimes that would lead to a forfeiture of a retirement annuity are limited to certain circumstances, namely treason or espionage, according to the Congressional Research Service. Based on his decades of service, Conyers would be eligible for an annual pension of nearly $130,000, according to the National Taxpayers Union, an advocacy group that keeps track of the public benefit.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

    • Drug Investigation

      Victoria Police are working an ongoing drug investigation. On Sunday morning around 12:07 a.m. a security guard at Shooters Bar at 4705 N. Navarro St. called authorities about a driver who hit a curb leaving his vehicle disabled.  The man ran away when he learned police were called.  Officers towed the vehicle, but inside found a handgun, marijuana, a scale, baggies and cash.  If you have any information Victoria Police want to hear from you. 
    • Birthday wishes

      I heard it's your Birthday!

    • Edna TDECU Targeted by Skimmer Scam

      A TDECU Bank branch in Edna has become a target for an ATM scam where a device is installed to collect debit card information. 

    • Attorney fights cancer with micro lung coil

      Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and surprisingly, as many as 20 percent of people who die from lung cancer have never used tobacco. 

    • Marq Perez guilty verdict reactions

      A guilty verdict has been handed down in the Marq Perez trial.... Newscenter 25's David Gibson spent the day in court and spoke with Perez's attorney as well as a member of the Victoria Islamic Center. The verdict for the Marq Perez trial came after hours of jury deliberation.

    • Jury finds Marq Pérez guilty on all charges

      Update:  Marq Pérez was just found guilty on all three charges. Perez’s family stared blankly as the verdict was read.  Judge Rainey says he will review everything before sentencing Perez, sentencing is set for October 2nd at 2:30pm. Previous story:   Day six of the Marq Perez trial began with the closing statements.  Sharad Khandelwal, the prosecutor from the U.S. Attorney's office, showed a video of the mosque fire claiming Per...

    • Victoria Crime Stoppers need your help to solve a cold case

      The Victoria Police Department is seeking information in a cold-case murder.  

    • York Road under construction beginning July 27

      Victoria County Commissioners approved re-pavement construction for York Road during their weekly Monday meeting. Beginning the weekend of July 27th, county workers will repair and re-pave a half mile portion of York Road. 

    • Trump sees 'no reason' why Russia would meddle

        HELSINKI (AP) - President Donald Trump says he sees no reason why Russia would interfere in the 2016 election.      Trump resisted when asked Monday to condemn Russian meddling in the election. Instead, he complained about a Democratic National Committee computer server and emails belonging to Hillary Clinton, the Democrat he defeated to win the presidency.      At a joint appearance in Finland with Vladimir Putin, Trump repeated the Russian lead...

    • Cuero Regional Hospital: Renovated Emergency Department to Open Early August

       The 1.5 million renovation project features about 1,000 square feet of additional space, six full private treatment rooms, additional private patient registration areas, as well as an upgraded nurses’ station and new triage area to improve patient flow through the ED as well.  

Current Conditions
/