Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Talking Turkey About Conyers

Following up on my earlier post on Conyers' "Lack of Clarity", it remains puzzling how the investigation by the House Ethics Committee into possible ethics violations by Conyers can be resolved by the 6 step that Conyers is supposed to enforce with his staff. The steps deal with what his staff would do for his office or his campaign and that they would not do volunteer work--apparently ignoring the original reason for the investigation into Conyers: the allegations in 2003 that his staff worked on the Detroit City Council campaign of JoAnn Watson and the presidential campaign of Carol Moseley Braun, while being paid by taxpayers.

The statement by the Ethics Committee is vague on that count, referring merely to:
an informal inquiry in December 2003 into reports that members of the congressional staff of Representative John Conyers had performed campaign activity on official time and in some instances using official resources, and that some staff members may have been compelled to do campaign work or personal work for Representative Conyers.
There is no indication that the issue is work done for campaigns other than Conyers'.

Neither is there any reference to Conyers' turkey program in 2005:

On November 23, staff members picked up 60 turkeys from a local food bank, ostensibly to deliver to those in need. However, the Director of the charity became suspicious when word reached him that a federal court worker was offered a turkey by a member of Conyers' staff. Conyers has also failed to meet a December 27 deadline to provide an accounting of where the birds were delivered.

Additionally, an anonymous staff member told the Detroit Free Press that senior staff members gave contradictory accounts when asked what happened to the turkeys. The aide also expressed concerns in a memo to the FBI. Something smells foul in the Conyers' office, and I don't think it's leftovers.

Conyers, of course, is no stranger to scandal. The Democrat was investigated last year by the Ethics Committee for improperly using staff members during office hours for political campaigning. DeWayne Boyd, a former aide fired in 2002, was convicted just last month on fraud charges resulting from a scam he ran out of the Representative's office.

This is were the story gets interesting. The turkeys (meant to feed hungry poor people), were picked up from the food bank by current Deputy Thief of Staff Marion Brown, and former Aide turned felon, DeWayne Boyd. The very same Boyd fired in 2002 and convicted in December.

Now my question is this, what in the world is the Deputy Thief of Staff of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives doing running around on official business with a former staff member who was fired and convicted of fraud? What can we learn from this?

This whole episode is ignored, as well as the followup--an allegation by a Conyers staff member 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 Washington Times version goes further, that according to the staff member Conyers 'allowed' Boyd to obtain the fake passport through his office. That article concludes, "Mr. Conyers had better have a good explanation for all this."

Oh, you mean because Congressman Conyers is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee?

Thanks to Dean Barnett, Michelle Malkin, Instapundit and Tapscott's Copy Desk for the links!

See also Gates of Vienna: Free To Say What?

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