After accusations of sexual harassment, Democratic Representative John Conyers retired Tuesday.
However, some lawmakers in the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) believe he received less due process, or benefit of the doubt, than others accused of the same.
According to Politico, some CBC members believe accusations against white politicians like Blake Farenthold, Al Franken and Roy Moore are met with more of an, as they describe, “innocent until proven guilty” attitude.
Complicating matters further, CBC Member and Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee is also being blamed for allegedly helping to cause a delay in Conyers’ retirement, ultimately allowing the scandal around him to drag on for longer than necessary.
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Conyers said he planned to retire from Congress last Friday, but Lee and his wife reportedly stopped him from doing so.
“Certainly it seems as if there is indeed a double standard,” fellow African American lawmaker Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) said in an interview.
She added further:
“When it happens to one of us (African Americans), we’re guilty until proven innocent. They’re just finally starting to talk about Blake Farenthold, who is a member sitting here who paid out $84,000.”
Not everyone in the African American congressional comunity shares those views:
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), for example, said “there are members of the Congressional Black Caucus who feel John was done in. I respect that, but I don’t have that feeling,” of Conyers in an interview.
Of course, Hastings stood accused of sexual harassment five years ago, although the case against him eventually went dismissed.
Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), a high-ranking member of the CBC, also called for Conyers’ resignation after the allegations against him.
According to reports, Conyers allegedly harassed several of his aides and settled a lawsuit with one of them using $27,000 in taxpayer dollars.
The Los Angeles Times described him as the most high-profile politician to be forced from office by the national outing of sexual harassment in politics and entertainment.
Despite his resignation, Conyers continues to deny the allegations.