Sunday, February 07, 2010

Detroit's No-Account Congressman

Congressman John Conyers, who has held the same seat in the House of Representatives since the year The Supremes recorded “Where Did Our Love Go,” loves to pose as the dogged prosecutor of Bush administration crimes.

Because his is what’s known as a “safe seat,” he can stay in Congress until he either decides to retire, or dies. Like a tenured professor who no longer even has to be bothered teaching classes, Conyers is free to utter nonsense and publish outlandish reports without worrying about accountability.

And, as far as I can remember, the press has never been interested in holding him accountable.

Had any other non-safe member of Congress had a spouse as notorious for her loud mouth and her nationally-reported bad behavior as Monica Conyers, not to mention facing a prison sentence for her serious public corruption and public testimony describing her remarkably unserious venality, the media would be regularly parked on Conyers’s doorstep. Had that Congressman been a conservative, it would have become the subject of two Michael Moore documentaries, two dozen Keith Olbermann commentaries, and a George Clooney film.

But last week Conyers took part in a press conference a couple of blocks from the federal courthouse where his wife’s former chief of staff, Sam Riddle, was on trial for Monica-related bribery. The press conference was about something else, but Conyers was absolutely surprised when someone in the press asked him about his wife.

Detroit News editor Nolan Finley is challenging Conyers’s right to evade questions by simply saying, "I'm not talking about that."
That would be OK if Conyers were a private guy drawing a private paycheck. But he's an elected public official, a Democratic congressman from Detroit, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He shouldn't get to decide what he isn't going to talk about when the issue is public corruption.

Rep. Conyers got splashed with his wife's taint this week during the federal bribery trial of her former sidekick, political consultant Sam Riddle. Greektown developer Jim Papas, frequently on the fringes of City Hall muck, testified that he gave Riddle $10,000 to share with Monica Conyers. Papas was looking for help in securing a letter from the congressman in support of his Romulus waste disposal well.

Monica Conyers called her husband's office, and Papas got the letter.

So what did John Conyers know about the $10,000 pay-out? Was he told about the letter? And if he did know, could this be considered influence peddling by proxy?
(“Commentary: What did John Conyers know?”).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tell it like it is.