Friday, August 11, 2017

Ethics panel still reviewing Conyers' pay to aide

Buckle up and let's get this show on the road!

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House Ethics Committee said today it’s continuing to look at whether

Former Chief of Staff for
U.S. Representative John Conyers, Jr.
U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, wrongly paid his former chief of staff for four months she didn’t work.

The committee today released documents outlining its review of Conyers, which has been known about for some months. A report from the Office of Congressional Ethics raises the possibility that Conyers violated House rules when he paid Cynthia Martin more than $50,000 for work she did not do last year.

But Conyers — the longest-serving active member of Congress — argued through his lawyers in a response to the committee that the wages were paid to Martin as part of a termination settlement crafted on the advice of the U.S. House’s own internal employment counsel.


David Lazarus,
Perkins Coie
Brian Svoboda and David Lazarus of Washington law firm Perkins Coie wrote to the committee in June that Martin — who had worked for Conyers for nearly two decades, the last eight of which she was his chief of staff — was kept on payroll even after she was effectively terminated as a means to pay her accrued annual leave she was owed and two months’ severance pay.

Martin lost her job last year after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of receiving stolen property in Washington, D.C., unrelated to her job as Conyers’ chief of staff. The charge involved some $16,000 wrongly deposited into her credit union account and her initial refusal to pay it back.

Conyers’ lawyers — who acknowledged he has refused to cooperate with the House Ethics Committee’s inquiry, believing he was not given proper notice and that is simply rehashes reviews already completed — said he believes the settlement agreement with Martin was proper.

“Mr. Conyers acted reasonably to separate from his longtime aide. … The criminal charge forced Mr. Conyers to make a difficult decision,” they said. “In effect, Ms. Martin was placed back on payroll in order for her to receive severance and accrued annual leave,” the lawyers added.

The lawyers also noted that House members are given wide latitude in determining compensation for their employees, though there are pay scale limits. At the time of her firing, Martin was making as chief of staff $13,333 a month.

The release of information by the committee noted that Conyers’ insistence aside, they will continue to review the money paid to Martin, noting rules that require House employees to be paid commensurate with the services they provide and that paying her for time she wasn’t working may be a violation.





Once again, the moral of the story is, "Do not be mean to my Sweetie. Period."

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