The House Ethics Committee has just launched an investigation into Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) over sexual harassment claims and a subsequent $84,000 taxpayer-funded settlement.
Lauren Greene, a former Farenthold aide, first brought up the issue of having been sexually harassed by the Republican congressman in 2014. She sued him for gender discrimination, sexual harassment and creating a hostile working environment for which she received the $84,000 payout. The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) then cleared Farenthold – apparently deciding that a taxpayer-funded settlement for sexual misconduct was adequate enough retribution – before the Ethics Committee opted to take up the matter once again.
“The Committee on Ethics does not appear to be letting it lie with the Office of Congressional Ethics’ recommendation not to pursue further,” said Greene’s attorney, Les Alderman of Alderman, Devorsetz & Hora PLLC.
Greene had previously sought to keep the settlement private, but when she realized that she was being blackballed following her allegations, she reached out to Politico and CNN, prompting the Ethic Committee to follow up.
“Congressman Farenthold has testified before both the Office of Congressional Ethics and the Ethics Committee of the House,” said Stacey Daniels, Farenthold’s spokeswoman. “He has done so voluntary, answering all of their questions.”
On the heels of Franken’s (D-MN) and Conyers’ (D-MI) resignations, all that was protecting Farenthold’s reputation was the OCE’s decision to clear the Texas Republican. However, with the Ethics Committee’s decision to launch a new investigation, a new recommendation may decimate Farenthold’s already feeble defense.
While Republicans in Congress have already shown that their commitment to fiscal responsibility is tenuous at best with a tax bill that raises the deficit by $1.44 trillion to afford the ultrawealthy a hefty tax cut, voters would be incensed to know that their hard-earned tax dollars are now being pilfered on hush money on behalf of sexual deviants in Congress. Blake Farenthold doesn’t belong anywhere near the United States capitol—or women, for that matter.