House ethics panel ex­tends in­quiry into vet­eran Rep. Cony­ers

Austin American-Statesman - - STATESMAN AT THE LEGISLATURE - By Matthew Daly As­so­ci­ated Press

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.

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