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Rep. John Conyers disputes claims of sexual harassment

Following a report from BuzzFeed News, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) is denying settling a sexual harassment complaint with a staff member. He is just the latest political leader facing questions about misconduct.

Buzzfeed reported Monday that Conyers' office paid the woman over $27,000 to settle the complaint under a confidentiality agreement. The news website published affidavits from former staff members who said they had witnessed Conyers touching female staffers inappropriately —rubbing their legs and backs — or requesting sexual favors. O

A former Conyers staffer said one of her duties was "to keep a list of women that I assumed he was having affairs with and call them at his request and, if necessary, have them flown in using Congressional resources."

Conyers told the Associated Press that he knows nothing about any claims of inappropriate touching and learned of the story from television just hours earlier. “I have been looking at these things in amazement,” he said, referring to allegations of sexual harassment and assault being made against politicians and others.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Monday she was unaware of the settlement by Conyers. "The current process includes the signing of non-disclosure agreements by the parties involved," Pelosi said in a statement. "Congresswoman Jackie Speier has introduced legislation that will provide much-needed transparency on these agreements and make other critical reforms. I strongly support her efforts."

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said in a statement Tuesday, "This report is extremely troubling. Last month, I directed the Committee on House Administration to conduct a full review of all policies and procedures related to workplace harassment and discrimination. A Committee hearing last week examining this issue led to a new policy of mandatory training for all members and staff. Additional reforms to the system are under consideration as the committee continues its review. People who work in the House deserve and are entitled to a workplace without harassment or discrimination."

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