David Henry, Bloomberg, October 27, 2019
John Conyers Jr., a Democrat who was serving his 26th term in the U.S. House when he resigned from Congress after allegations that he sexually harassed employees, has died at age 90.
Conyers’ death at his home in Detroit on Oct. 27 was confirmed by a family spokeswoman, the Washington Post reported. No cause of death of given.
The representative from Michigan’s 13th district entered the U.S. House in 1965. During his tenure, he introduced legislation on civil liberties, voting rights and violence against women while advancing the causes of black Americans by co-founding the Congressional Black Caucus in 1969.
Conyers was the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee and the longest-serving member of the House when, in November 2017, several former staff members accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior. Conyers denied any wrongdoing but announced his retirement several weeks later. He acknowledged agreeing to a $27,000 settlement in 2015 with a former aide who said she was fired because she rejected his sexual advances.
Conyers, who handily won re-election contests over the decades, initiated the measure that created the national holiday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and employed civil-rights icon Rosa Parks for 23 years.
Conyers was known to snub opponents, refusing to debate them in election campaigns, and criticized his party when he disagreed with policies it advocated.
Supporting Jesse Jackson’s presidential candidacy in 1984, he said the Democratic Party had “become stale and lifeless” with an “allegiance to a corporate order that owes little loyalty to national goals.” He called for a protest march on the White House after Obama cut a deal with the Republicans to raise the U.S. debt ceiling in 2011.