House ethics panel extends inquiry into veteran Rep. Conyers
The House Ethics Committee said Wednesday it is extending an investigation of Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the longest-serving member of Congress, over payments to his former chief of staff.
The ethics panel said it needs more time to review a report submitted by the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, which said there is substantial reason to believe that Conyers paid his former chief of staff for work she did not perform.
Conyers, 88, is in his 27th term representing Detroit and is the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
He said in April 2016 that he suspended longtime staff chief Cynthia Martin after she pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property, a misdemeanor. Martin was placed on unpaid leave while he reviewed the matter, Conyers said.
But the ethics office said Martin was paid more than $13,000 a month through August 2016. She was fired in October, although investigators said they were told as early as June 2016 that Martin no longer worked in the office.
A spokeswoman said Conyers “has worked diligently at all times to comply with” House rules and is cooperating fully with the Ethics Committee.