Press Releases

Conyers: Congressional Oversight Should Be Constructive, Not Partisan

Washington, DC, May 7, 2013

This morning, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, alongside the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Economic Growth, held a hearing entitled, “DOJ’s Quid pro Quo with St. Paul:  A Whistleblower’s Perspective.”  Following the reading of opening statements at the hearing, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued this statement:

“I am deeply disappointed in my colleagues from across the aisle for holding a joint hearing this morning that was misleading and not based in fact.

“After an extensive bipartisan investigation by the House and the Senate, including review of thousands of documents and nearly a dozen interviews with administration officials, there is no evidence that the Department of Justice acted improperly in their handling of the St. Paul case.  Further, there is no evidence of a so-called ‘quid pro quo,’ and the courts have not determined whether the witness – Mr. Newell – is, in fact, a whistleblower.  In short, the title of this hearing is entirely off the mark.

“This hearing is also troubling in that its underlying purpose is to harm the reputation of Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez: a dedicated public servant and a champion for civil rights.  It is no coincidence that this hearing is being held the day before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions considers the nomination of Mr. Perez to serve as the next Secretary of the Department of Labor.  Rather than focus on his successful tenure in the Civil Rights Division, the Majority has instead diverted into partisan attacks based on conjecture.

“As our nation continues to work through difficult issues related to everything from voting rights to gun violence, I hope that going forward my colleagues will put aside their partisan rhetoric and return to the people’s business.”