By Joel Thurtell
No question why Monica Conyers flunked the Michigan bar exam four times.
The wife of U.S. Rep. John Conyers, Democrat of Detroit, misbehaved so badly March 10, 2010 in U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn’s courtroom that you’d think she’d never spent a minute in a law school class.
For anyone who’s looked even briefly at the Conyers menage, Monica’s last-minute attempt at withdrawing her plea of guilty to corruption charges together with her thuggish comments to the judge came as no surprise.
How did she manage to sit for the bar exam four times and fail it each time?
Here’s a better question: How’d she manage to earn a Juris Doctor degree from the University of District of Columbia School of Law?
But Monica’s lamebrained behavior is not the real story.
Monica is a red herring.
Sure, as an elected Detroit city councilwoman, she treated the municipal trust as a cash flow pump, acting like bribes were her own private entitlement.
But bribe-taking is only one form of corruption.
It would be good to reflect on her role model.
I mean the good congressman, her husband, John Conyers.
How did it happen that hubby got off scot-free, while Monica’s going to occupy a federal prison cell for three years and a month?
I wouldn’t be surprised if JC were privately high-fiving her sentence, his only regret being it wasn’t the full five years the judge could have handed his felon helpmeet.
Assigning congressional attorneys to tutor Monica in her law classes, as JC did, is a breach of House ethics and potentially criminal.
John Conyers did this under his authority as congressman and as either ranking minority member or now chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee.
Monica got her free legal lessons courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer, because they occurred on government time.
Sydney Rooks, a lawyer and former member of U.S. Representative Conyers’ staff, told me she was ordered by the congressman to tutor the Mon in hubby’s Detroit congressional office, on government time.
Congressional aides campaigned on government time for Monica and other Democratic candidates. They used government office equipment for campaign work, in violation of congressional ethics rules and federal law.
Why, once I telephoned a Conyers staffer who was supposed to be organizing a forum in Dearborn on health care reform. Where did I reach the staffer? In the Chicago campaign office of a Democratic presidential candate. I confirmed that he received federal pay for his campaign work.
We exposed these Conyers abuses in a set of Detroit Free Press articles on November 21, 2003. Later, we exposed the fact that Conyers was routinely assigning his congressional staffers — on government-paid time — to babysit his kids and chauffeur them to and from school.
The Washington Post devoted a brief to the Conyers abuse story.
The newspaper of record, by which I mean The New York Times, breathed not a word about it.
The House Ethics panel took it up and after some months put it down.
The Justice Department was made aware of the story months before I wrote about it.
Another Detroit congressman, Charles Diggs, went to prison for assigning staffers to work in his family funeral home while receiving federal pay. Among other things, federal prosecutors said what he did was fraud.
No doubt about it, Monica is a crook and deserves every minute of prison time she gets.
But her role model, her mentor, her husband the congressman, what does he get?
No loudmouth, pistol-brandishing Monica to spoil his naps.
Peace and quiet for 37 months.
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org