Tag Archives: John Conyers

More virtue signaling: Female demorats planning to wear black to Trump’s SOTU address

juanita broaddick

Demorats in solidarity with this victim?/AP Photo

Will Juanita Broaddrick receive an invite from the democrat working group that hopes to “transcend party lines?”

From Glamour: At the 2018 Golden Globes, the red carpet was flooded with black dresses and Time’s Up pins, a coordinated protest against sexual abuse and harassment in Hollywood and other industries. Though responses to the blackout (and the efficacy of this type of showing) was mixed, it does appear to have inspired a similar movement in a different field: politics.

NBC News reports that another blackout demonstration against sexual misconduct is in the works—this time, in Washington, D.C., on the occasion of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. On January 30 members of Congress, led by the Democratic Women’s Working Group, are invited to wear black to the address as an act of solidarity. Representative Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California who will be participating, told NBC News: “This is a culture change that is sweeping the country, and Congress is embracing it.”

Last year female Democrats staged a similar fashion demonstration when President Trump addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time: They wore white as an homage to the women’s suffrage movement, and to make a statement about women’s rights. They documented it with the hashtag #WomenWearWhite.

While lawmakers in Washington are often starkly divided by their political affiliations, Speier and other organizers hope that a call to stand up for victims of sexual harassment and abuse will transcend party lines, with members of both parties showing up in black.

Capitol Hill is no stranger to the rampant sexual abuse that has plagued professional environments, from film to farming. A November New York Times report described sexual harassment as an “occupational hazard” for women entering politics; in the same month, 50 women spoke to CNN about their experiences with harassment while working in Washington. And when it comes to individual politicians (mostly male), accusations of sexual misconduct abound: Most notably, President Trump has dodged and denied accusations of sexual harassment since his 2016 campaign, while Senator Al Franken and Representative John Conyers (both Democrats) stepped down from office following allegations of their misconduct.

The Golden Globes blackout was met with criticism, many notes that seeing a sea of black dresses—and reading the statements of actresses who participated—made for one of the most meaningful red carpets in entertainment history. At this time, few politicians have announced their intentions to wear black alongside the Democratic Women’s Working Group to the State of the Union. On January 30 we’ll see which lawmakers step up—and whether the President responds to the protest.

DCG

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Taxpayers paid $17+M in Congress’ hush-money settlements

The Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) of 1995 requires Congress and legislative branch entities to follow many of the same employment and workplace laws applied to private business and the rest of the Federal Government.

In all, 13 civil rights, labor, and workplace safety laws are applied by the CAA:

  1. Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
  2. Federal Labor Relations Act
  3. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  4. Americans with Disabilities Act
  5. Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  6. Family and Medical Leave Act
  7. Fair Labor Standards Act
  8. Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  9. Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act
  10. Employee Polygraph Protection Act
  11. Veterans’ employment and reemployment rights under Chapter 43 of Title 38 of the U.S. Code.
  12. Veterans Employment Opportunities Act
  13. Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

CAA’s purpose is to protect over 30,000 employees of the legislative branch, including the following:

  • House of Representatives and the Senate (both Washington, D.C. and state district office staff)
  • Office of the Architect of the Capitol
  • U.S. Capitol Police
  • Office of Congressional Accessibility Services
  • Congressional Budget Office
  • Office of the Attending Physician
  • Government Accountability Office
  • Library of Congress
  • Office of Compliance

The last legislative branch entity , the Office of Compliance (OOC), was created by CAA as an independent office to administer and enforce the Act, and to manage complaints and disputes involving “legislative branch entities” through an early resolution procedure of counseling, mediation, hearings, deliberations, and monetary “awards or settlements” — all of which are confidential.

Sexual harassment, abuse or rape are among the complaints and disputes involving legislative branch entities.

The money for the “awards and settlements” is drawn from a special account in the U.S. Treasury, created by Section 415 of the Congressional Accountability Act, under which the OOC is authorized to appropriate “such sums as may be necessary to pay such awards and settlements.” OOC’s executive director approves all such awards and settlements.

We do not know how much money is that “special account”. According to Section 1415 of CAA:

There are appropriated for such account such sums as may be necessary to pay such awards and settlements.

But we do know how much the OOC, that is taxpayers, paid in “awards and settlements” from 1997 to 2017 — a whopping $17.24 million.

That was revealed in a November 16, 2017 memorandum by Susan Tsui Grundmann, Executive Director of the Office of Compliance.

In the memo, Grundmann states that although the CAA does not require the OOC to release award and settlement figures:

“However, based on the volume of recent inquiries regarding payment of awards and settlements reached under the CAA, I am releasing these figures beginning with Fiscal Year 1997, up to and including FY 2017.”

By “volume of recent inquiries regarding payment of awards and settlements,” Grundmann was alluding to inquiries provoked by recent news concerning Congressmen Al Franken’s and John Conyers’ sexual misconduct.

Below is a table of settlements and awards paid by the Office of Compliance from 1997 to 2017 (click to enlarge). Note that I added the following to the table:

  • The words “HR – Senate” for the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
  • The letters “R” (Republican) and “D” (Democrat) to indicate the majority party in control of the House or Senate that year.
  • The red circles.
  • The last line in the table: “Total 1997-2017 / 264 / $17,240,854”

As you can see from the table:

  • 2007 was the worst year, with the highest number of settlements (25) and the largest amount in total settlements and awards ($4,053,274), averaging $162,130 per settlement.
  • 2002 is notable for the largest amount paid to each complainant — an average of $397,407 to each of the ten complainants.

Grundmann would not divulge which legislative entities were involved, or which member of Congress was accused of wrongdoing, or what the payoff was for. She writes:

AA large portion of cases originate from employing offices in the legislative branch other than the House of Representatives or the Senate, and involve various statutory provisions incorporated by the CAA, such as the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The statistics on payments are not further broken down into specific claims because settlements may involve cases that allege violations of more than one of the 13 statutes incorporated by the CAA.”

Indeed, the Office of Compliance is under no obligation to inform the American people. This is what is stated on OOC’s “Contact Us” webpage:

The Office of Compliance is part of the legislative branch and is therefore not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

The Office of Compliance is a part of Congress, the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government, with a 5-member, non-partisan Board of Directors who, in turn, appoint OOC’s executive staff, including its executive director. Susan Tsui Grundmann became Executive Director of the Office of Compliance in January 2017. Here’s her contact information:

John Adams Building
110 2nd Street SE, Room LA 200
Washington, DC 20540-1999
Phone: 202-724-9250
Fax: 202-426-1913

You should be outraged by this.

We, the taxpayers, paid $17.24 million (1997-2017) in hush money for Congress’ misdeeds. We have the right to be told the names of the miscreants, what they did, how much each has cost taxpayers, and how much is in that secret slush fund.

To contact your representatives in Congress, click here.

See als0:

Update:

Reacting to taxpayers’ outrage about the hush-money slush-fund, three bills have been introduced in Congress to address this issue:

  1. A bill requiring lawmakers to pay back the funds, and have the amounts posted on a government website.
  2. A bill to stop the use of tax payer money and have the lawmakers face possible expulsion.
  3. A bill requiring lawmakers in past cases pay back the funds with interest, stop future payments, and ban non-disclosure agreements.

~Eowyn

Billy Baldwin tears into Trump for once “hitting on his wife”

billy baldwin

Brave Billy: Coming out with details over two decades later…

So now hitting on a woman is considered “sexual impropriety?” Careful what rules you want to establish while trying to deflect, proggies.

From MSN: Actor Billy Baldwin on Thursday alleged that President Trump hit on his wife at a party, calling the president a “5th degree black belt when it comes to sexual impropriety allegations.” “Your Dad is a 5th degree black belt when it comes to sexual impropriety allegations. In fact… I once had a party at the Plaza Hotel… your father showed up uninvited and hit on my wife… invited her on his helicopter to Atlantic City,” Baldwin tweeted.

“She showed his fat a** the door,” he added.

Baldwin’s tweet came in response to a post from Donald Trump Jr. sharing the latest allegations against Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).

Sexual misconduct has been a major focus in Washington in recent weeks. In addition to Franken, Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore has been accused of making advances on teenage girls when he was in his 30s.

Multiple women have accused Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), the longest serving member in the House, of sexual misconduct.

Allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump surfaced during the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump denied the accusations, and on Tuesday appeared to throw his support behind Moore and downplayed the allegations against him.

Baldwin’s brother, Alec, has been a staunch critic of Trump. Alec has drawn Trump’s ire for his portrayal of the president on “Saturday Night Live.”

DCG

Democrats Boycotting Donald Trump’s Inauguration

butthurt

From Yahoo: Several House Democrats have declared that they plan to boycott Donald Trump’s inauguration Friday, with the number increasing Saturday in the wake of the president-elect’s criticism of civil rights leader and Georgia Congressman John Lewis.

By Saturday afternoon, 16 House Democrats had announced they would not attend Trump’s inauguration.

The number grew after Lewis said he doesn’t see Trump as a “legitimate president” and announced that he would not attend his inauguration—the first one he will miss since being elected to Congress. Trump fired back on Twitter, inspiring a backlash from Democratic leaders.

Rep. Ted Lieu, of California, said in a statement on Saturday that he would stand with Lewis. “While I do not dispute that Trump won the Electoral College, I cannot normalize his behavior or the disparaging and un-American statements he has made,” Lieu said. “I can only hope that Trump will govern differently than he has campaigned. For me, the personal decision not to attend Inauguration is quite simple: Do I stand with Donald Trump, or do I stand with John Lewis? I am standing with John Lewis.”

Here are the House Democrats who have decided to boycott:

Georgia Rep. John Lewis: “I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,” Lewis said in a Meet the Press interview. “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected, and they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I don’t plan to attend the inauguration. It will be the first one that I miss since I’ve been in Congress.

California Rep. Barbara Lee: “On January 20th, I will not be celebrating or honoring an incoming president who rode racism, sexism, xenophobia and bigotry to the White House,” Lee said in a statement. “Donald Trump has proven that his administration will normalize the most extreme fringes of the Republican Party. On Inauguration Day, I will not be celebrating. I will be organizing and preparing for resistance.”

California Rep. Jared Huffman: “I have decided that instead of attending the inaugural ceremonies in Washington this month, I’ll spend time in California with my constituents making a positive difference in our community,” he said in a Facebook post.

Illinois Rep. Luis Gutiérrez: “The reason I am not going is that I cannot bring myself to justify morally or intellectually the immense power we are placing in that man’s hands,” Gutiérrez said on the House floor on Tuesday.

Missouri Rep. William Lacy Clay: Clay plans to be “back home in St. Louis speaking to school kids” instead of attending the inauguration, his spokesman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday.

Michigan Rep. John Conyers: A spokesperson for Conyers confirmed to CNN and Politico that he would not be attending the inauguration.

Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva: “I will not be attending the inauguration of Donald Trump as our next president,” he said Friday on the House floor, CNN reported. “My absence is not motivated by disrespect for the office or motivated by disrespect for the government that we have in this great democracy, but as an individual act, yes, of defiance at the disrespect shown to millions and millions of Americans by this incoming administration, and the actions we are taking in this Congress.”

Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer: There is unprecedented concern by my constituents about the many threats posed by a Trump administration seeking to implement the President-elect’s policies on health, environment, nuclear weapons, and immigration, to name but a few. I will forgo the inauguration, spending the day instead in my district talking with Oregonians to hear their priorities, try to answer their questions, and prepare for the coming assault on the values and programs we hold dear,” he said in a Facebook post on Jan. 7. “It is hard to think of a better use of my time on January 20th.”

Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader: “I’m just not a big Trump fan. I’ve met the guy and never been impressed with him,” Schrader told Oregon Public Broadcasting on Friday. “I’ll do my best to work with him when I think he’s doing the right thing for the country. But he hasn’t proved himself to me at all yet, so I respectfully decline to freeze my ass out there in the cold for this particular ceremony.”

And also:

  • California Rep. Mark Takano
  • California Rep. Mark DeSaulnier
  • Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark
  • New York Rep. Yvette Clarke
  • New York Rep. Nydia Velazquez
  • New York Rep. José Serrano

DCG

House passes bill to undo last 60 days of Obama’s rules & regulations

Yesterday was a good day.

A moving truck arrived at the White House — a sign that the Obamas are packing up and leaving. Really.

moving-truck-at-white-house-jan-4-2017

Also yesterday, the second day of the newly elected Congress, by a vote of 238-184, the GOP-majority House of Representatives passed the Midnight Rule Relief Act that enables Congress to repeal in a single vote any rule finalized in the last 60 legislative days of the Obama administration.

Lydia Wheeler reports for The Hill, Jan. 4, 2017, that if passed by the Senate and signed by President-elect Donald Trump, the Midnight Rule Relief Act (MRRA) would amend the Congressional Review Act to allow lawmakers to bundle together multiple rules and overturn them en masse with a joint resolution of disapproval.

Obama already has threatened to veto the bill if it were to make it to his desk before he leaves office.

Pouring cold water on the passage of MRRA, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), while debating the bill on the floor yesterday afternoon, said that Congress has only once, in 2001, successfully repealed a rule by way of a resolution under the Congressional Review Act because both houses and the president all have to agree on the resolution to repeal a rule. Issa gave the following rather obtuse explanation:

“All this legislation does is allow for us to dispose of one or more regulations in an expedited fashion in this body and have it seen in the same form in the Senate. It doesn’t change the underlying law. Only one regulation has ever been repealed. It’s been 16 years and the few that will likely be considered under this act and underlying law will be just that, a relatively few regulations that are believed to be unnecessary on which the House, Senate and president concur.”

That, however, didn’t stop Democrats from bitching that the Midnight Rule Relief Act would allow Congress to erase months of Obama’s regulatory agenda:

  • Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) criticized Republicans for bringing the bill to the floor so soon: “I’m surprised that without hearings, without opportunity for amendment, we are now considering a measure that has this much opposition.”
  • Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) — that bright bulb who, at a House Armed Services Committee in 2011, expressed his trepidation that moving 8,000 marines to Guam would tip over the island — resorted to fear mongering. He accused Republicans of wanting to undo Obama’s regulations that created 15 million jobs and protect “the health safety of welfare of Americans, little ones, elderly, workers and people who are consumers,” so as “to bring the standard of living Americans have come to enjoy to a halt.”
  • The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization that claims to represent over 200,000 businesses and advocates for federal-state policy changes for a more sustainable and socially-responsible economy, sent a letter to members of the House on Wednesday urging them to oppose the “anti-regulatory” Midnight Rule Relief Act because it would enable Congress to undo batches of rules without any consideration of their individual merits. David Levine, ASBC’s CEO and co-founder, said in a statement: “This would be like taking a chainsaw into surgery. Businesses depend on good regulations to set clear boundaries and rules for fair competition on a level playing field.”

uninstalling-obama

~Eowyn

John Conyers appeals to Obama over water shutoffs

detroit

Detroit News: Longtime Detroit congressman John Conyers sent letters Friday to President Barack Obama and other officials requesting immediate action and relief regarding water shutoffs in the bankrupt city.

The Democrat seeks to stop the shutoffs affecting 4,500 customers for nonpayment. Conyers said in a statement that actions represent “an overzealous and misguided approach to cost-cutting.”

conyers

“Regardless of the rationale for these cutoffs, the human consequences are unacceptable and unsustainable,” he said. “The failure to reinstate water service means unsanitary conditions, malnutrition and disease for babies, the sick and the elderly.”

The water department, responsible for about $6 BILLION of Detroit’s $18 BILLION in debt, is a major issue in the city’s bankruptcy. Earlier this year, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department said it would be more assertive about delinquencies. About 46,000 shut-off notices were sent last month and service to about 10 percent of that number was recently cut.

Conyers, who also sent letters to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and city water department Chief Executive Sue McCormick, specifically asked for some of the $200 million available to the state through the federal Hardest Hit Fund. He also urged an “immediate end to the shutoffs” and the designation of a public health emergency that would be “eligible for direct federal relief.”

There was no immediate response from federal officials.

The water department says about 17,000 customers are on payment plans, and officials try to work with those customers. It estimates about 90,000 active customers in are delinquent on their bills to the tune of about $90 MILLION.

Several groups also have appealed to the United Nations for support in an effort to force the restoration of service. Three U.N. experts this week responded that the shutoffs could constitute a violation of the human right to water but what the global organization might do beyond that is unclear.

DCG