Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The John Conyers Question

John Conyers is the fifth longest serving member of either the Senate or Congress right now. He is also one of the great progressive leaders in Congress as well. However, the the legal problems that his wife is facing present a real appearance problem for the 80 year old member of Congress, even if he had no knowledge of her actions while on the Detroit City Council.

Conyers wife, Monica Conyers, who is considerably younger than the congressman was a member of the Detroit City Council up to only recently when she had to resign her position due to an ongoing FBI criminal investigation that resulted in Monica Conyers pleading guilty to bribery charges. Monica Conyers guilty plea in the scandal involves city contract corruption charges of accepting more than $6,000 in bribes in a case where a company, Synagro Technologies, received a contract from the city of Detroit.

Politically, John Conyers may be able to win re-election in his district. However, in a serious guilt by association problem, Conyers finds himself in a much weakened position in Congress as a result of the problems with his wife. The powerful congressman faces some serious issues here. He may have a great deal of clout in Congress, however with his advancing age and worsening problems with his wife's legal problems, Conyers faces the real possibility of simply opting out of running for office again as the only viable option.

Conyers' seat in Congress is a safe Democratic seat. But likely if Conyers should decide to depart Congress, it should spur a real battle to succeed him among many potential challengers.

It might be very difficult for Conyers to survive all the problems with his wife even if he might have been absolutely unaware of her actions involved with the city contract bribery scandal. Appearances are probably bad enough that this congressman's career might well be just about over soon. Sadly, as much as Conyers attempted to promote integrity in government in his long career, his wife's own problems have made the congressman a real victim here even if he appears to have had no involvement or knowledge of her corrupt actions.