GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold Used Taxpayer Money to Settle $84,000 Sexual Harassment Claim

It looks like we’ve now found another member of Congress who used taxpayer funds to pay off a claim of inappropriate behavior. In the wake of news that Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and disgraced former Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) had settled cases with Congressional funds regarding sexual misconduct and harassment, Politico reported today that Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) settled a case of sexual harassment in the amount of $84,000. The funds secretly came from the Congressional Office of Compliance. Per Politico:
House Administration Committee Chairman Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) told GOP lawmakers in a closed-door Friday morning meeting that only one House office in the past five years had used an Office of Compliance account to settle a sexual harassment complaint. Harper said in that one instance, the settlement totaled $84,000. “While I 100% support more transparency with respect to claims against members of Congress, I can neither confirm deny that settlement involved my office as the Congressional Accountability Act prohibits me from answering that question,” Farenthold said in a statement.

The settlement was reached with Farenthold’s former communication director Lauren Green, who filed a lawsuit in December 2014 alleging that the Texas Republican sexually harassed her and created a hostile work environment. The case was later dropped due to both parties reaching a private settlement. Politico received a copy of a statement the two prepared at the time of the settlement but never released. That statement said the parties agreed to the solution as they “believe that the mediator’s solution saves the parties, and the taxpayers, significant sums that would be expended in further discovery and/or trial.” In her complaint, Greene noted that “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.” She added that he had once said during a staff meeting that a female lobbyist once asked him to have a threesome. It should be noted that while Farenthold denied much of Greene’s claims in her suit, he did contend at the time that he was indeed propositioned for a threesome by the lobbyist. [image via screengrab] — Follow Justin Baragona on Twitter: @justinbaragona

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