BY: ZIAD BUCHH, OPINIONS EDITOR
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) joined Democratic colleagues and a growing chorus of national voices Thursday in calling for Rep. John Conyers’ resignation following allegations of sexual harassment against the 88-year-old congressman.
In a statement to the Detroit Free Press, Dingell and Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak, said that Conyers must resign in the face of the accusations. The statement from Dingell represents a change in tone from earlier in the week, when she called for an ethics investigation but stopped short of demanding a resignation.
Conyers is accused by at least four women of sexually harassing female members of his staff. Conyers has denied these claims, despite paying one of the women, Marion Brown, a taxpayer-funded settlement of $27,000.
The pressure has mounted on Conyers, as more and more prominent national figures have come out demanding his resignation. At his weekly press conference, House Speaker Paul Ryan called on Conyers to step down, saying “No one should have to go through something like that, let alone here in Congress.” Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who initially resisted taking action, also called for his resignation, saying the charges against Conyers are “serious, disappointing and very credible.”
Conyers is currently in the hospital after being admitted overnight for stress-related illnesses. While his condition is currently unknown, his lawyer, Arnold Reed, said that Conyers currently has no intention of resigning, saying he “is not going to be pressured by Nancy Pelosi or anyone else to step down.”
Despite his refusal, the shrinking Democratic support may force Conyers’ hand. Of the Democratic congress members from Michigan, only Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) hasn’t outright called for resignation.
Lawrence, when reached for comment by the Detroit Free Press, sent a statement which demanded accountability, but not resignation.