Two former aides to Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) have alleged that he repeatedly violated House ethics rules.
Deanna Maher, a former deputy chief of staff in Conyers’s Detroit office, and Sydney Rooks, a former legal counsel in the district office, provided evidence for the allegations by sharing numerous letters, memorandums and copies of e-mails, handwritten notes and expense reports with The Hill.
In letters sent separately by each woman to the House ethics committee, the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office, they allege that Conyers demanded that aides work on several local and state campaigns and forced them to baby-sit and chauffeur his children. They also charge that some aides illegally used Conyers’s congressional offices to enrich themselves.
…In her Jan. 13 letter, Maher recapped a previous allegation she had made that DeWayne Boyd, a former top aide to Conyers, used Conyers’s congressional office to obtain a fake passport after being convicted of fraud, making false statements and government theft in 2004. Sentenced in 2005 to 30 to 46 months in prison, Boyd fled to Ghana before being recaptured and extradited to the United States.
The crux of the allegations involves complaints that Conyers used his staff to work on several local and state campaigns including his wife’s failed bid for a seat in the state Senate. In 2003, the Detroit Free Press reported about the allegations that Conyers repeatedly violated House rules by forcing staffers to work on campaigns without taking leave.
Among Maher’s allegations:
• In 2002, Conyers’s aides in D.C. were sent to Detroit to help his wife, Monica, win a state Senate seat. While she lost that election, she won a seat last year on the Detroit City Council.
• On June 2, 2003, Conyers forced Maher to spend a day campaigning for Keith Williams, who won a seat on the Wayne County Commission. She became fed up and drove off after going door to door to distribute campaign literature for a few blocks.
• Carol Patton, a legislative counsel on Conyers’s personal staff, was hired in 2003 to help Williams and to help JoAnn Watson in her bid for Detroit City Council. Patton still works for Conyers and earns more than $44,000 per year, according to the 2005 House statement of disbursements.
• In a Dec. 22, 2004, letter, Maher said Conyers staffer Melody Light “conducts her law practice (charging legal fees) out of the congressional office. … She has in effect hung out her shingle on [Conyers’s] office door.”