Rep. John Conyers' legacy was upended Monday when a BuzzFeed News report detailed sexual harassment allegations made against the Michigan Democrat. Now, the editorial board of the Detroit Free Press, his slightly left-leaning hometown paper, is calling for him to step down.
The longtime congressman is known as a civil rights icon and a co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus, facts the Free Press acknowledged in its scathing editorial published Tuesday. But he's also been accused of making sexual advances toward an employee — and having her fired when she refused.
That's enough to spark an inquiry into Conyers, the Free Press said. But his misconduct runs deeper: If the victim dropped her formal complaint against Conyers, his office said it would "re-hire" her and pay her as a temporary employee. The woman eventually agreed to those terms, receiving more than $27,000 over the course of three months. It's similar to a time Conyers kept paying his former chief of staff even after she was fired — payments the Free Press said look like "hush money."
While the editorial board did suggest reforming the Congressional Office of Compliance so these payoffs don't keep happening, that is "not the point with Conyers." "It's a betrayal that breaches the most fundamental trust that exists between a public servant and the people that person represents," the Free Press wrote.
Tuesday's New Hampshire primary might be John Kasich's last hurrah on the campaign trail. The Ohio governor, who came in 8th in Iowa with just 1.86 percent support, said Wednesday that if he "gets smoked" in New Hampshire, that very well may be the end of his efforts to win the Republican presidential nomination.
"If we don't do well, we're not going to be dragging around like some band of minstrels who beg people to come to our show," Kasich said at a Bloomberg Politics breakfast in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Kasich thinks his chances of doing well in New Hampshire are much stronger than they were in Iowa, though, adding that as his poll numbers in the Granite State have steadily risen, his fundraising has improved, too. Recent polls show Kasich in either second or third place in New Hampshire, and he's racked up numerous East Coast newspaper endorsements.
The New Hampshire primary is set for Tuesday, Feb. 9. Becca Stanek