Republican member of Congress Blake Farenthold used $84,000 of a taxpayer-funded account to settle a sexual assault claim brought against him by a former staffer in 2014.
Ms Lauren Green, the Texas congressman’s former communications directors brought a lawsuit against her boss in 2014 over allegations of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.
In the suit, she claimed Mr Farenthold had said he had ‘sexual fantasies’ and ‘wet dreams’ about her and had told her in February of 2014 that he was ‘estranged from his wife and not had sex with her in years.’
When she afterward complained about the comments he had made, Mr Farenthold allegedly improperly fired her, but the case was later dropped after the parties made a private settlement.
House Administration Committee Chairman Gregg Harper then informed GOP lawmakers yesterday that only one House office in the past five years had used an Office of Compliance account to settle a sexual harassment complaint. According to Mr Harper, in that one instance, the settlement totaled $84,000.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">This is GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold, the congressman who reached a secret $84,000 sexual harassment settlement paid with taxpayer funds. <br><br>Who’d have ever thought? <a href="https://t.co/1p2JJWPHO7">pic.twitter.com/1p2JJWPHO7</a></p>— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) <a href="https://twitter.com/christinawilkie/status/936649453125107713?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">1 December 2017</a></blockquote>
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Mr Farenthold’s office released a statement in response to the news: “While I 100% support more transparency with respect to claims against members of Congress, I can neither confirm nor deny that settlement involved my office as the Congressional Accountability Act prohibits me from answering that question.”
The Tea Party was in 2010 what got Mr Farenthold in Congress, and so far it is unclear whether this news will carry any ramifications for the 55-year-old congressman from South-East Texas.
According to Greene’s complaint of 2014, Mr Farenthold’s behaviour was certainly questionable. The document read: “Farenthold regularly drank to excess, and because of his tendency to flirt, the staffers who accompanied him to Capitol Hill functions would joke that they had to be on ‘red head patrol to keep him out of trouble.’”
“On one occasion, prior to February 2014, during a staff meeting at which Greene was in attendance, Farenthold disclosed that a female lobbyist had propositioned him for a ‘threesome.’”
“On June 10, 2014, in response to Haueter’s complaint about Greene’s shirt which Haueter claimed was transparent and showed Greene’s nipples, Farenthold told another woman staffer that Greene could show her nipples whenever she wanted to.”