Tuesday, March 07, 2006

John Conyers' Nanny State

Michigan Democrat John Conyers is in favor of federally-funded daycare programs, and apparently used his congressional staffers in a personal pilot program:

Three former aides to U.S. Rep. John Conyers say the longtime Detroit congressman made them act as personal gofers and valets while they were supposed to be working in his Detroit-area offices.

Conyers ordered them to act as personal servants, tutoring and babysitting his two sons, helping his wife with a law class, and chauffeuring him to political and private events and picking up tabs at restaurants and motels, they said in interviews Wednesday and in complaints filed with the House Ethics Committee that were released this week.

The former Conyers employees who made the complaints are Deanna Maher, who was chief of staff of Conyers' Downriver office in Southgate until May 31; Sydney Rooks, who was Conyers' legal counsel from 1997 to 2000; and Dean Christian Thornton, a legislative aide who was fired in January. ...

Conyers in 1998 summoned Maher to his house on 7 Mile in Detroit and ordered her to live there while his wife, Monica Conyers, attended law classes in Oklahoma, she told the Free Press. For six weeks, Maher said, she was a resident in the Conyers home taking care of Conyers' two young sons while their mother was away.

Wow. Got to be hard to blame this on the "vast right-wing conspiracy," when the ex-aides are all loyal partisan Democrats. The Hill reports more:

In 2003, the Detroit Free Press reported about the allegations that Conyers repeatedly violated House rules by forcing staffers to work on campaigns without taking leave.
Among Maher’s allegations:
• In 2002, Conyers’s aides in D.C. were sent to Detroit to help his wife, Monica, win a state Senate seat. While she lost that election, she won a seat last year on the Detroit City Council.
• On June 2, 2003, Conyers forced Maher to spend a day campaigning for Keith Williams, who won a seat on the Wayne County Commission. ...

Carol Patton, a legislative counsel on Conyers’s personal staff, was hired in 2003 to help Williams and to help JoAnn Watson in her bid for Detroit City Council. Patton still works for Conyers and earns more than $44,000 per year, according to the 2005 House statement of disbursements. ...

Maher and Rooks said that Conyers tasked staffers in his district office with taking care of his two young boys, John and Carl.
“If he asked you to do something, you knew you had to do it,” said Rooks, 54, who administers a homeless shelter in Detroit.
She told The Hill that she tutored “Little John,” as Conyers’s elder son is known, when he was a student at the Cranbrook School, a private school in Bloomfield Hills. The tutoring took place during normal working hours, and she was not given additional compensation for the work, nor was she reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses.
Rooks said when the son received low grades, Conyers told her, “‘Well, Rooks, you can add tutoring to your list of stuff to do.’”
She added that a staffer would pick the son up from school, take him to the office, fix him a snack and help him with his homework.

Whoa! Wait a minute! Cranbrook Academy? Tuition (grades 1-5) is $17,880 a year! And, what is the official position of Rep. Conyers (D-Hypocrisy) on school vouchers?

"It is vital for parents, educators, and community leaders to join together to strengthen Detroit's public schools. ... schemes like vouchers ... will only harm our public schools. ...

"The Republican Leadership in House of Representatives has consistently shown itself to be out of touch of with the American people's concern for public education. Just last week, the House of Representatives rejected an amendment offered by the Majority Leader, Dick Armey, which would have allowed Title I money for disadvantaged students to be used for vouchers for private schools. I am glad that fifty-two of my Republican colleagues chose to vote against their leadership, vote down this voucher scheme, and vote in favor of our nation's public schools."

So while Conyers fights to prevent Republicans from giving his poor constituents in Detroit an opportunity to get their children out of some of the worst public schools in America, he uses his congressional aides -- whose salaries are paid by taxpayers -- to tutor his children, whom he sends to an exclusive private school in Bloomfield Hills (ZIP 48304) where the population is 87% white, 4% black and the median household income is over $100,000 a year.

This is typical of Democrats, whose class-warfare rhetoric is intended to hide the fact that Democratic Party leaders (a) are very wealthy and (b) consistently do the bidding of their big-dollar donors. We've got an entire chapter in DONKEY CONS demonstrating that Democrats are the real "party of the rich."