Embattled Rep. John Conyers announces retirement — and an endorsement

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) announced on Tuesday he was retiring for Congress, setting off a scramble for who will fill the seat of the 88-year-old Michigan Democrat embroiled by a harassment scandal.

“I’m retiring today,” the 88-year-old Michigan Democrat said in a phone interview with a local radio station. “I want everyone to know how much I appreciate [their] support.”

The longest-serving member of the House of Representatives paid out more than $27,000 of taxpayer money to silence a staffer who claimed she was fired for refusing his sexual advances, documents have shown.

Conyers settled with the unnamed woman in 2015 after she accused him of predatory sexual behaviors and said she was let go because she did not provide sexual gratification.

The settlement, which was revealed by BuzzFeed after right-wing commentator Mike Cernovich gave the site documents relating to the hush money, was also confirmed by the 88-year-old Conyers himself.

Now, Conyers is endorsing his 27-year-old son John Conyers III to fill the seat, in a move that few expected.

The list of the elder Conyers’ alleged transgressions goes far beyond a single settlement. Two other employees have claimed in signed affidavits that they were frequently tasked with transporting women — often using government resources — who were believed to be involved in affairs with the legislator.

At least one female staffer has also alleged that constituents told her that Conyers had sexual relationships with women working in his office, something that female employees felt undercut their credibility with the public.

Conyers said the allegations should not diminish his legacy.

“Absolutely not,” Conyers told reporters. “My legacy cannot be compromised or diminished in any way, but what we are going through now. This too, shall pass. … I am very proud that I am the dean of the Congress.”

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