If you’re writing a book about government corruption, you could get a lot of material out of the Congressional career of John Conyers (D-MI). His home district, which includes a big chunk of Detroit, has fallen into such ruin that it looks like a third-world city. Instead of looking for ways to bring in entrepreneurs and small businesses to revitalize his district, he’s spend his time defending the rank criminal behavior of ACORN, and not reading all the bills on which he votes.
And he’s at it again. USAID has been steadfastly (and relatively quietly) doing heroic work to get relief to Haiti, which before the earthquake didn’t look all that different from chunks of Conyers’ district. The administrator of USAID, Rajiv Singh, went to a meeting with the Black Congressional Congress to let them know what his agency was doing in Haiti. Alas, Conyers wasn’t all that interested in hearing the presentation; he was far too busy looking for black faces among the administrator’s aides. When he didn’t find any among Singh’s 12 helpers, he demanded that Hillary Clinton demote him and promote someone more to Conyer’s liking.
Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) has called on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to demote the official coordinating Haiti relief efforts for not having enough minority staffers.
The House Judiciary Committee Chairman sent a letter to Clinton on Thursday after Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, showed up at a meeting with the 42-member Congressional Black Caucus without any African American staffers in tow.
“I was alarmed and chagrined to learn that none of the approximately dozen staff he brought with him were African American,” Conyers wrote in the letter. “This is so serious an error in judgment that it warrants his immediate demotion to a subordinate position at AID.”
I originally wasn’t going to write about this, but Conyers’ demand, and the belief behind it, was so ridiculous that it deserves attention. When you drill down to the bare rock of his demand, here is what he was really saying: I don’t care what sort of job Singh was doing and I don’t care how badly his demotion and the re-arrangement of key assistants would disrupt the ongoing efforts to save thousands, if not ten thousands, of human lives in Haiti. I only care about the mix of skin color of his staff.
I”m not sure what you call that, really. It’s worse than the garden-variety corruption he’s practiced for a lot of years. Far worse.
What makes it even worse is that no one else in that CBC meeting called him out on it.