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Ethics Committee Investigating Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Rep. John Conyers



KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Congress is behind from a holiday mangle and still traffic with a possess passionate nuisance scandals. Minnesota’s Democratic senator, Al Franken, is behind on a Hill for a initial time given allegations opposite him initial surfaced. Michigan Democratic Congressman John Conyers has stepped down from his position on a House Judiciary Committee tentative an ethics investigation. And a White House currently pronounced President Trump will not debate for Alabama Republican Senator Roy Moore. But a boss has permitted Moore arrange of in tweets pursuit for a better of his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones.

With us now to speak about all this is NPR congressional match Susan Davis. Hi, Sue.

SUSAN DAVIS, BYLINE: Hey, Kelly.

MCEVERS: All right, let’s start with Senator Franken. He talked to reporters during a Capitol today. Here’s some of what he said.

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AL FRANKEN: we am embarrassed. we feel ashamed. What I’m going to do is I’m going to start my job. I’m going to go behind to work. I’m going to work as tough as we can for a people of Minnesota. And I’m going to start that right now. Thank we all. Thank you.

MCEVERS: Going behind to work, definition Franken will not resign. So where does he go from here?

DAVIS: The subsequent step for Al Franken is an approaching Senate ethics review into these allegations. He reiterated currently that he will concur with any investigation, nonetheless we would note that ethics inquiries tend to take a really prolonged time. So there’s no discerning or discerning fortitude to this. And Al Franken isn’t adult for re-election again until 2020.

There’s also an open doubt here if some-more women come brazen and if that could impact a calculation here. He was asked today, did he design any some-more accusers, and he couldn’t contend for certain if there would be any.

MCEVERS: Congressman John Conyers announced he will give adult his pursuit as a tip Democrat on a Judiciary Committee. Is that adequate to prove Democrats who are disturbed about how this could impact a party?

DAVIS: Probably not, though we consider we hear Democrats speak really carefully when they speak about John Conyers since he is a Dean of a House, since of his past record on advancing polite rights.

I consider there’s still speak among Democrats that maybe John Conyers could only retire or renounce from Congress. He’s 88 years old. If he were to leave, this matter in many ways would mostly go divided since a House Ethics Committee doesn’t have any office over former members of Congress, and he is confronting an ethics investigation.

And Democrats are a bit some-more supportive about a Conyers matter since in his case, it also involves a paid allotment to a lady who indicted him of passionate harassment. He denied those allegations, though it did engage a allotment of about only underneath $30,000. And that is paid for by taxpayers.

MCEVERS: How does that work? we mean, we consider people are substantially astounded to hear those payments come out of taxpayers’ pockets.

DAVIS: And it’s not a really politically intelligent move. we consider that’s because we see a attraction among lawmakers to this. Essentially it’s a routine summarized in a 1995 law, and it’s a routine that – it’s a three-step routine to record complaints that involves imperative wait times, non-disclosure agreements. And when settlements are paid out, they are paid out of a treasury. There is legislation relocating by Congress that would change that routine and would make any lawmaker concerned in a allotment compensate out of their possess pocket.

MCEVERS: And as we mentioned, President Trump has pronounced a electorate should get to confirm about a competition in Alabama of march involving Senate claimant Roy Moore. How most impact is that competition carrying on how, we know, both parties understanding with passionate nuisance or attack allegations?

DAVIS: It could have an outsized effect. You know, if Roy Moore wins, it could embolden other possibilities or lawmakers confronting allegations to stay and fight, contend a electorate get to decide. If he loses, if this is a vital upset, it could also change a calculation that parties have about possibilities and lawmakers to say, if you’re confronting these allegations, we only got to go.

MCEVERS: NPR’s Susan Davis, appreciate you.

DAVIS: You’re welcome.

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