Representative John Conyers, the powerful chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, had his driver’s license suspended for a month this summer when a check he used to pay the renewal fee bounced, according to state driving records obtained by The Associated Press.
The 81-year-old Detroit Democrat tried to renew his license at a secretary of state branch office on Feb. 2, the records show. Months later, state officials determined the bank account tied to the check had insufficient funds, and his license was suspended on June 30.
Conyers eventually paid the fee, and his suspension was lifted July 26.
Asked for an explanation, Conyers’ Detroit district office responded with a written statement that said “a check was inadvertently written to renew the chairman’s driver’s license from an account that had been recently closed.
“As a result his driver’s license was suspended,” the statement said. “Immediately upon learning of this, a replacement cashier’s check was provided, and his driver’s license was immediately reinstated.”
The AP requested the driving histories of the major-party candidates in Michigan’s 15 congressional races, and the secretary of state’s office supplied records dating back to 2003.
Conyers, who is running for a 24th term in next month’s general election, isn’t the only candidate with a blemish on his or her driving record.
Nineteen of the 30 candidates had clean driving histories, but the other 11 had a total of 18 speeding tickets, four citations and three suspensions.
Aside from Conyers, Grosse Pointe Woods businessman John Hauler was the only one to have his license suspended. His was suspended twice after the Republican failed to deal with citations in a timely manner.
Hauler, who is running in the 13th District, was cited for an equipment violation in Grosse Pointe Woods in 2006. When the fine wasn’t paid on time, his license was suspended for about 10 days, the records show.
In September 2009, he received a citation for a registration/plate violation, failed to pay on time again and lost his license – but this time for only four days in November of last year.
Two candidates – Democrat Pat Miles in the 3rd District and Republican John Kupiec in the 5th – each received warning letters after being ticketed multiple times.
Miles, a Grand Rapids lawyer, picked up speeding tickets in 2004 and 2007 and twice in 2005 – all in his hometown. Kupiec, a business owner/executive from Grand Blanc, was nabbed for going 60 in a 55-mph zone in Fenton in 2005. Two years later, he was cited for improper passing. The violation that triggered the “driver improvement correspondence” was a speeding ticket he received in 2008 for again going 5 mph over the speed limit, this time in Mio.
Miles campaign spokeswoman Amy Fetherolf had no comment. The Hauler and Kupiec campaigns didn’t immediately return messages left requesting comment.
Kupiec’s Democratic opponent, Rep. Dale Kildee of Flint, also has an infraction on his record. The 81-year-old who’s vying for an 18th term was cited earlier this year by police in Virginia for unauthorized use of a high occupancy vehicle lane.
Five other Michigan Congress hopefuls have two speeding tickets each on their records: state Rep. Gary McDowell, D-Rudyard (1st District); Republican Tim Walberg of Tipton, who is running for the 7th District seat he lost in 2008; Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township (9th District); Democrat Natalie Mosher of Canton Township, who’s running in the 11th District; and Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak (12th District), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)