WASHINGTON — Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) says he is retiring “today” from Congress and is endorsing his son, John Conyers III, to replace him.
“My legacy can’t be compromised or diminished in any way by what we’re going through now,” Conyers, 88, said in a radio interview on Tuesday, as he once again denied allegations of sexual misconduct. “This too shall pass.”
Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, last week called on Conyers to resign. He is the longest-serving member of the House, having taken office in 1965.
Conyers was the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, and was long viewed as a pro-copyright champion for the music industry. When he stepped down from that post last month, he was succeeded as acting ranking member by Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). But there has been buzz in industry circles that there could be a battle for the powerful post between him and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), whose district includes parts of Silicon Valley, often at odds with showbiz interests.
Conyers’ nephew, Ian, a state senator in Michigan, told the New York Times that he, too, planned to run for the seat next year.
Conyers long supported such issues as a performance right for artists when their songs were played on broadcast radio, and parity in payments on digital platforms. The House Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over such issues, along with antitrust and other copyright provisions.
The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), announced that he would retire from Congress after this term.
Last week, Marion Brown, one of Conyers’ former staffers, said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” that the congressman “just violated my body, he’s touched me in different ways. It was very uncomfortable and very unprofessional.” She reached a settlement with Conyers in 2015. Other accusers have also come forward alleging inappropriate behavior by Conyers.
He has acknowledged paying a settlement but denied wrongdoing.