John Conyers

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U.S. Representative

John Conyers (D)

400080.jpeg

MI-13
Positions
Leadership: No leadership position
Committees: House Committee on the Judiciary
(subcommittees and past assignments)
Next election: Nov. 6, 2012

Primary challenge: N/a

Incumbent running: Yes, for a different seat

2012 candidates for MI-13

Confirmed: John Conyers, Harry Sawicki
Possible: None so far
Out: None so far
(more info & editing for MI-13)
On the Web
Official website


John Conyers, Jr. has been a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Michigan's 14th District, since 1965. The 14th district includes all of Highland Park and Hamtramck, as well as parts of Detroit and Dearborn.

Contents

Record and controversies

Congressional scorecards

Click through the score to see the records of other members of Congress and full descriptions of the individual votes.

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Organization 2007 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
2008 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
American Civil Liberties Union not avail. not avail.
American Conservative Union 0 - 0/25 not avail.
AFSCME not avail. not avail.
Americans for Democratic Action 95 - 19/20 100 - 20/20
Club for Growth not avail. not avail.
Drum Major Institute not avail. not avail.
Family Research Council not avail. not avail.
Information Technology Industry Council not avail. not avail.
League of Conservation Voters not avail. not avail.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People not avail. not avail.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce 50 - 10/20 not avail.


Iraq War

Conyers voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[1]

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

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Position on tobacco issues

An examination of tobacco industry documents shows Rep. Conyers has long been solidly on the side of public health on tobacco issues.

In July 1987 he co-sponsored a bill to give the Consumer Product Safety Commission authority to regulate the safety of tobacco and tobacco products. The same year, he co-sponsored the Donnelly bill (H.R.2606) that would have amended the Internal Revenue Code to disaIlow deductions for advertising expenses for tobacco products or alcoholic beverages.[1][2]

In February 1989, he co-signed the Toricelli bill (H.R. 561) to amend the Federal Aviation Act to prohibit smoking on domestic commercial aircraft flights.[3]

In 1990, Rep. Conyers wrote the preface to a booklet advising citizens about how to get rid of tobacco and alcohol billboards in their neighborhoods, citing the higher prevalence of these billboards in minority neighborhoods and calling the ads "24 hour-a-day drug promotions."[4]

On June 30, 1998 Rep. Conyers publicly released highly embarasssing excerpts from tobacco industry marketing documents from the Mangini lawsuit that described marketing to minorities and youth. The documents revealed cigarette companies' exploitation of the lack of understanding of health issues surrounding cigarettes, marketing to youth as young as 14 years of age, and more. [5]

Transparency legislation

On May 24, 2007, the House considered the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (H.R.2316), sponsored by Rep. Conyers, designed to provide more rigorous requirements with respect to disclosure and enforcement of lobbying laws and regulations. Specifically, the bill would:

  • Ban former members of Congress, employees of Congress and executive branch officials from returning to Congress as a registered lobbyist for two years after leaving service or employment.
  • Require that if a member wants to negotiate for a job as a lobbyist while still in office, the member must wait until his or her predecessor has been elected or must file with the Clerk within three days of when negotiations began.
  • Require lobbyists to file quarterly disclosure statements, rather than the semiannual reporting previously required. Firms would need to certify that they have not and their employees have not provided, requested or directed a gift, including travel to a member of Congress or an officer or employee of the House or Senate in violation of rules governing such gifts.
  • Require lobbyists offering contributions to report on a quarterly basis. This would include the name of the recipient, employer (House of Senate), names of political committees established or administered by the lobbyist, and the name of each federal candidate or officeholder, leadership PAC or political party committee to whom total contributions exceed $200. Also to be reported is the amounts spent to pay the cost of an event to honor or recognize a legislative branch official or executive branch official. Cost of meetings, retreats, conferences or such events must be disclosed.
  • Require that gifts and travel provided may not be done if the person offering has knowledge that the gift or travel may not be accepted under the House rules.
  • State that any member or employee attempting to influence on the basis of partisan political affiliation may be fined or imprisoned for not more than 15 years or both and may be disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust or profit in the US.
  • Require that a Member prohibit all staff employed by him or her from having any official contact with the Member’s spouse if the spouse is a lobbyist or employed by a lobbying firm for the purpose of influencing legislation.

The bill passed the House 396-22.

Main article: U.S. federal ethics, transparency, and campaign finance legislation, 110th Congress

Support for gun control

Conyers cosponsored H.R. 1312 (Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2005) on May 12, 2005.[2]

Main article: U.S. gun legislation

Legislation to prosecute hate crimes

Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007

On May 3, the House considered a bill, sponsored by Rep. Conyers to provide federal assistance to states, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes.[3]

Under the bill, hate crimes would be those determined to be motivated by prejudice towards race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability. Grants to state, local and tribal enforcement agencies would be authorized to help with investigative expenses and training and to combat hate crimes committed by and against youth. Previously, the law only included race, color, religion or national origin as protected groups.[4]

Grants would bring technical, forensic and prosecutorial assistance to law enforcement agencies if a violent crime was motivated by prejudice towards protected classes. Grants would also cover “extraordinary” expenses of such investigations and could be used to train local law enforcement in identifying, investigating, prosecuting and preventing hate crimes. Grants could not exceed $100,000 per jurisdiction per year.[5]

The bill passed, 237-180.[6]

May 3, 2007
Passed, 237-180, view details
Dem: 212-14 in favor, GOP: 25-156 opposed, Ind: 0-0

Main article: U.S. hate crimes legislation

Downing Street memo

On May 5, 2005, Conyers and 88 other members of Congress wrote an open letter to the White House inquiring about a leaked memo which revealed an apparent secret agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom to attack Iraq in 2002. The Times, a British national newspaper, reported that newly-discovered documents reveal British and U.S. intentions to invade Iraq and leaders of the two countries had "discussed creating pretextual justifications for doing so". The documents go on to say that Tony Blair decided the U.S. would need to "create" conditions to justify the war.

The Downing Street memo story broke in the United Kingdom, but has not received much coverage in the United States, prompting Conyers to lament: "This should not be allowed to fall down the memory hole during wall-to-wall coverage of the Michael Jackson trial and a runaway bride."

CNN picked up the story on May 12 and Fox News had a story two weeks later on June 1.

Conyers et. al are seriously considering sending a congressional investigation delegation to London. [6]

What Went Wrong In Ohio

In May, 2005, Conyers released What Went Wrong In Ohio: The Conyers Report On The 2004 Presidential Election, which discusses the voting irregularities in the state of Ohio during the 2004 Presidential Election. The evidence offered of wrong-doing consists of statistical abnormalities in the differences between exit poll results and actual votes registered at those locations. The book also discusses reports of faulty electronic voting machines and the lack of credibility of those machines used to tally votes.

The Constitution In Crisis

On December 20, 2005, Conyers released The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retributions and Cover-ups in the Iraq War, an edited collection of information intending to serve as evidence that the Bush Administration altered intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq|Iraq.

The Constitution in Crisis examines much of the evidence presented by the Bush Administration prior to the invasion and questions the credibility of their sources of intelligence. Additionally, the document investigates the conditions which led to the torture scandal in Abu Ghraib as well as further evidence of torture having been committed, but not made known to the public. Finally, the document reports on a series of 'smear tactics' purported to be used by the administration in dealing with its adversaries.

The document calls for the censure of President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney.[7]

On June 31, 2006, Conyers released The Constitution in Crisis: With 26 Laws Implicated by Administration Misconduct, Its Long Past Time for Real Checks and Balances. This report summarizes an unreleased document, by giving details about the activities of the Bush administration. The report claims that their behavior was not legal by detailing 26 laws that he accuses the executive branch of breaking.[8]

Impeachment of President George W. Bush

On December 18, 2005, Conyers introduced a resolution (H. Res. 635) that would create a special House committee to investigate a variety of allegations against President Bush and possibly make a recommendation to the full House that the allegations merit impeachment. It was assigned to the House Committee on Rules, where the committee's chairman in the 109th Congress, Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.), did not bring it up for a vote. The resolution would create a committee to investigate the following:

  • Actions by the White House, National Security Council, Department of State, Department of Defense, and Central Intelligence Agency related to United Nations and Iraq Survey Group inspections of Iraq.
  • Knowledge of Iraq's ability regarding and intentions toward, or lack of ability regarding or intentions toward, nuclear weapons capability.
  • Knowledge regarding Iraq's possession of or attempted possession of, or regarding the lack of possession of or attempted possession of, chemical or biological weapons.
  • Knowledge of Iraq's possession of aluminum tubes for conventional rocket programs or for nuclear weapons development.
  • Knowledge regarding Iraq's intent, or lack of intent, toward acquiring yellowcake uranium from Niger.
  • Knowledge of any involvement, or lack of involvement, by Iraq in the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States.
  • Knowledge of any connections or ties, or of any lack of connections or ties, between Iraq and al Qaeda.
  • Knowledge of any meeting, or lack of any meeting, between Iraqi intelligence officials and Mohammed Atta (the lead hijacker on September 11, 2001) in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
  • Preparations for detention, interrogation and treatment of detainees, or lack thereof, made in the planning stages of the Iraq conflict prior to March 19, 2003,
  • Knowledge of abuses and mistreatment of detainees during the Iraq conflict after March 19, 2003,
  • The investigation of abuses and mistreatment, or lack thereof, the results of these investigations, any sanctions or punishment of offenders, and any efforts to keep these reports either from supervisors, officials or the public,
  • An examination of all prison facilities, including the High Value Detainee facility at Baghdad airport and secret prisons or "black sites" for detaining individuals outside the United States.
  • The extent to which civilian, military, or intelligence officials expressly authorized, willingly ignored, or created an atmosphere that condoned the abuses and mistreatment that occurred at Abu Ghraib, Iraq.
  • Knowledge on the part of any White House officials of the covert identity of Valerie Plame Wilson and any discussion or communication by such officials with members of the media about such identity, and any failure to enforce Executive Order 12958.

In May 2006, Conyers announced that he was no longer interested in pursuing impeachment.[7] He stated:

So, rather than seeking impeachment, I have chosen to propose comprehensive oversight of these alleged abuses. The oversight I have suggested would be performed by a select committee made up equally of Democrats and Republicans and chosen by the House speaker and the minority leader.[8]

Following the Democratic victory in 2006, Conyers responded to Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) promise not to pursue impeachment. He stated, "I am in total agreement with her on this issue...Impeachment is off the table."[9] On December 4, 2006, Congresspedia contacted Conyers' office to confirm that the incoming-chairman had no intention of reintroducing his bill in the 110th Congress. A spokesperson confirmed that he did not.

Main article: Efforts to initiate the impeachment of President George W. Bush

Ethics Complaints

In complaints made to a House Ethics Committee meeting released on March 2, 2006, three former aides who worked for Conyers were allegedly used as babysitters and valets, instead of working in his offices for governmental purposes.[9]

The allegations range from babysitting, to tutoring Conyers' children, and chauferring him to private functions, as well as paying for bills at hotels and restaurants. According to a Detroit Free Press article, one aide reported that she picked Conyers' kids up from school, drove them home, helped with their homework, made dinner, and set them to bed while on the congressional salary.[10]

Conyers' lawyer has stated that they have been "fully forthcoming" on the allegations in the committee report.[11]

House Judiciary Committee

As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee during the 110th Congress, Conyers created a panel task force on antitrust issues. The committee was set to begin on February 28, 2007 with a hearing featuring Sirius Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin. [12]

Letter to Alberto Gonzales

On July 24, Conyers, along with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales addressing the severe budget shortages found in many U.S. Attorney offices throughout the country. The letter noted several examples which the congressmen felt were cause for concern. In Los Angeles, for example, they cited that 40 of the 190 assistant U.S. Attorney positions in California’s Central District were currently vacant. In addition, two federal offices began charging defendants for copies of documents. In another office, an electronic lock was placed on the supply closet, requiring prosecutors to fill out paperwork in order to get stationary supplies. The congressmen also argued that budget shortages have led to a decrease in prosecutions on lesser felonies by the federal government. Given the fact that funding for U.S. Attorney office actually rose in previous years, the congressmen wrote the letter hoping for some answers by Attorney General Gonzales. [13]

Request for information on Libby commutation

On July 8, 2007, Conyers requested that the White House come forward and waive executive privilege to let White House pardon lawyers testify in Congress on the commutation of "Scooter" Libby’s prison sentence. Conyers commented on This Week with George Stephanopoulos that “the suspicion was that if Mr. Libby went to prison, he might further implicate other people in the White House... This is why we’ve written the president, inviting him to do what President Clinton did, and namely to bring forward any of his pardon lawyers or anyone that can put a clear light on this and put this kind of feeling, that is fairly general, to rest.”[10]

Bio

Conyers was born May 16, 1929 in Detroit, Michigan. He received both his B.A. (1957) and his J.D. from Wayne State University (1958). He served in the National Guard (1948-1950), United States Army (1950-1954), and United States Army Reserves (1954-1957). He was a staff member for Rep. John D. Dingell, Jr., of Michigan from 1958-1961. He also worked as the general counsel for three labor locals in Detroit (1959-1964) before being elected to Congress in 1964. [14].

Congressional career

Conyers was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1964, making him the second most senior member. As such, he has witnessed many historic moments. In 1971, he was one of the original members of Nixon's Enemies List. Conyers was a member of the Judiciary Committee during the committee's 1974 Watergate hearings, and civil rights icon Rosa Parks served on Conyers' staff between 1965 and 1988.[15]

Conyers is a leading figure in the Democratic Party and the Congressional Black Caucus, and is currently Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. "He is one of the 13 founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and is considered the Dean of that group. Formed in 1969, the CBC was founded to strengthen African-American law makers' ability to address the legislative concerns of Black and minority citizens." [16]

According to the National Journal, Conyers is considered, along with Pete Stark, to be one of the most liberal members of Congress.

He appeared in Michael Moore's documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 discussing the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, stating that members of Congress "don't read most of the bills".

Conyers frequently posts at Daily Kos and Democratic Underground. Since May 2005 he's been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post.

Conyers, the Judiciary Committee Ranking Member, is the leader of the Downing Street Memo Campaign. (See Record and controversies above).

2006 elections

In 2006, the Republicans nominated Chad Miles to face Conyers in his November 2006 bid for reelection. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [17] Conyers retained his seat.

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. For specific controversies, see this article's record and controversies section.

Top Contributors to during the 2008 Election Cycle
DonorAmount (US Dollars)
DISH Network$ 30,000
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons$ 20,000
Law Offices of Peter G Angelos$ 15,000
National Amusements Inc$ 13,500
National Cable & Telecommunications Assn$ 12,000
Microsoft Corp$ 11,500
Jackson Lewis LLP$ 10,500
Sony Corp$ 10,500
Teamsters Union$ 10,500
American Crystal Sugar$ 10,000
Source: The Center for Responsive Politics' www.OpenSecrets.org site.
Note: Contributions are not from the organizations themselves, but are rather from
the organization's PAC, employees or owners. Totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.
Links to more campaign contribution information for John Conyers
from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org site.
Fundraising profile: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2008 election cycle Career totals

Committees and Affiliations

Committees

Committees in the 110th Congress (2007-2008)

  • House Committee on the Judiciary, Chair
    • Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law
    • Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
    • Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property

Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

  • House Committee on the Judiciary - Ranking Minority Member
    • Subcommittee on Task Force on Antirust - Ranking Minority Member
    • Subcommittee on the Constitution
    • Subcommittee on Courts the Internet and Intellectual Property

Coalitions and Caucuses

Boards and Other Affiliations

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on John Conyers. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


Contact

DC office
  • 2426 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
    Ph: 202-225-5126 Fax: 202-225-0072
    Webform email
District offices
  • 669 Federal Building 231 West Lafayette Boulevard Detroit, MI 48226-2766
    Ph: 313-961-5670 Fax: (none entered)
  • DCC Building, Suite 257 15100 Northline Road Southgate, MI 48195
    Ph: 734-285-5624 Fax: (none entered)
On the Web
Campaign office
  • No campaign website entered.
  • No campaign webform email entered.
  • No campaign office information entered.

Articles and Resources

References

  1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  2. Thomas page on H.R. 1312
  3. Robert McElroy, "Managing America: Law Enforcement," TheWeekInCongress, May 4, 2007.
  4. Robert McElroy, "Managing America: Law Enforcement," TheWeekInCongress, May 4, 2007.
  5. Robert McElroy, "Managing America: Law Enforcement," TheWeekInCongress, May 4, 2007.
  6. Robert McElroy, "Managing America: Law Enforcement," TheWeekInCongress, May 4, 2007.
  7. John Conyers Jr., "No Rush to Impeachment," Washington Post, May 18, 2006.
  8. John Conyers Jr., "No Rush to Impeachment," Washington Post, May 18, 2006.
  9. Ruby Bailey, "John Conyers: Will he push for Bush impeachment hearings? He says no," Detroit Free Press (via Jones Report), November 10, 2006.
  10. Chris Good. "Conyers demands answers on Libby commutation," The Hill. July 8, 2007.

Resources

Local blogs and discussion sites

Articles

Articles by Conyers

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