Sexual harassment in Washington is rampant these days, but a new development on a GOP congressman may have a few people scratching their heads. It appears as though when it comes to sexual harassment, it too can be buried in the courts with a lawsuit settlement, and the taxpayers can apparently now pick up the bill.
According to a report Friday on Politico, Texas Congressman Blake Farenthold was sued by his communications director following a dispute concerning sexual harassment and other claims back in 2014. Those other claims include gender discrimination and creating a hostile work environment, on top of sexual harassment. Although the exact details of those claims are unknown, Blake Farenthold did see fit to settle the lawsuit brought against him in December 2014, and he did it with taxpayer funds, according to the report.
In the lawsuit, Lauren Greene, the former communications director for GOP Congressman Blake Farenthold, alleged that he was making specific remarks to other top aides that he was having “sexual fantasies” about her and made some subtle sexual advances toward her by telling her that he was “estranged from his wife” and that he “had not had sex with her in years.” Greene eventually complained about the sexual harassment and she was promptly fired by Farenthold.
Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold made a $84,000 sexual harassment settlement in 2014, paid for in taxpayer dollars. https://t.co/nLkLchjZUc
— Axios (@axios) December 1, 2017
But what is especially concerning is that Blake Farenthold had reportedly used an account with the Office of Compliance to pay off the sexual harassment settlement, which is a taxpayer-funded account. News of this revelation broke when House Administration Committee Chairman Gregg Harper, a Republican from Mississippi, revealed in a closed door meeting to GOP lawmakers that the account had only been used one time in the last five years and it was for the sum of $84,000, which was the settlement amount that Blake Farenthold agreed to and paid to Lauren Greene over the sexual harassment lawsuit against him.
Although Blake Farenthold did release a statement on the issue, he did not come out and deny the accusations against him, but rather shielded himself behind his position.
“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,” Blake Farenthold’s statement read.
Here is the full Rep Blake Farenthold statement on sexual harassment settlement –> pic.twitter.com/jvVQVcxKKr
— Alex Moe (@AlexNBCNews) December 1, 2017
Most people know Blake Farenthold as the congressman who surfed in on the wave of Tea Party candidates entering office in 2010. It is unclear at this time if Farenthold intends to make good on the money allegedly taken from taxpayers to settle the sexual harassment lawsuit.