Paul Ryan Defends GOP Congressman Accused of Sexual Harassment: ‘Not Substantial’ Evidence

After news broke that Congressman Blake Farenthold of Texas used taxpayer dollars to settle sexual harassment allegations, House Speaker Paul Ryan opted to not call for the lawmaker’s resignation. Ryan, through his spokesperson AshLee Strong, released the following statement on the matter:
“The speaker talked to Rep. Farenthold earlier today. The speaker has made clear any report of sexual harassment is deeply troubling, and those who feel mistreated or violated deserve to have their stories taken seriously. In this instance, the independent Office of Congressional Ethics investigated this claim and unanimously voted to dismiss it. Still, there are important questions to answer, including the use of taxpayer dollars for settlements. We will continue our efforts to reform this settlement system.”

Additionally, Politico — who initially broke the story on Farenthold — reported that Strong said that there was “not substantial reason to believe” the allegations against the Texas lawmaker. evidence for such a claim were the results of a Office of Congressional Ethics investigation. Other Republicans have called for Farenthold to give up his post for using $84,000 taxpayer dollars as defacto hush money. A spokesperson for GOP Congresswoman Barbara Comstock of Virginia — who has been a notable voice on the sexual harassment issue — told Politico: “[H]e should pay back the money to the taxpayers. The Congresswoman would welcome a waiving of the nondisclosure agreement so the parties can come forward, particularly since we have not heard from the woman involved directly as we have in other cases.” [image via screengrab] Follow the author on Twitter (@calebecarma).

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