WASHINGTON ― Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) called on Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) to step down in light of mounting sexual harassment allegations.
“It is not easy for me to reach this conclusion because, as a civil rights activist, I have looked up to Representative Conyers for decades,” Jayapal, who is serving her first term in Congress, said in a statement Tuesday. “I believe these women, I see the pattern and there is only one conclusion ― Rep. Conyers must resign.”
Last week, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), a second-term congresswoman, became the first Democrat in Congress to urge Conyers to resign.
Earlier Tuesday, the civil rights icon’s former deputy chief of staff, who had worked for him in the 1990s, accused him of sexual misconduct, including an incident in which she said she refused his offer to have sex at a Washington hotel. Multiple former staffers had come forward last week with similar allegations, including one who received a previously undisclosed monetary settlement from him in 2015.
Conyers has repeatedly denied the allegations. On Sunday, however, he announced he would step aside as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee pending the results of an ethics investigation.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) upped the pressure on Conyers late Tuesday by asking the House Ethics Committee if they needed additional resources to “expeditiously” conduct a sexual harassment investigation of the congressman.
“As one who served seven years on the Ethics Committee, I know that the demands on staff and resources can at times be overstretched,” Pelosi wrote in a letter. “Should you need any additional resources to fairly and swiftly pursue these investigations, please make that need known.”