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Hey, remember that harassment lawsuit against Rep. Blake Farenthold?

I’m just gonna leave this right here.

Rep. Blake Farenthold

Rep. Blake Farenthold used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim brought by his former spokesman — the only known sitting member of Congress to have used a little-known congressional account to pay an accuser, people familiar with the matter told POLITICO.

Lauren Greene, the Texas Republican’s former communications director, sued her boss in December 2014 over allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.

Greene said another Farenthold aide told her the lawmaker said he had “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” about Greene. She also claimed that Farenthold “regularly drank to excess” and told her in February 2014 that he was “estranged from his wife and had not had sex with her in years.”

When she complained about comments Farenthold and a male staffer made to her, Greene said the congressman improperly fired her. She filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, but the case was later dropped after both parties reached a private settlement.

No information was ever released on that agreement.

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.

[…]

Farenthold is likely to face repercussions from fellow House Republicans for using taxpayer money to settle a harassment claim. Recent reports, including in POLITICO, revealed that $17 million has been paid out quietly to settle workplace disputes.

Harper said Friday that only $360,000 of that total involved a House office.

That, however, won’t stem demands from conservatives that members who have been part of such settlements use their own personal money to reimburse the treasury.

See here, here, and here for some background. Farenthold was cleared by the Office of Congressional Ethics in October of 2015, and the lawsuit was settled the next month. If it weren’t for the current national conversation about harassment and abuse, I’m willing to bet we’d have never heard about the amount of the settlement or the source of the payment. Farenthold has filed for re-election, but after what happened to Smokey Joe Barton, you have to wonder if that could change. ThinkProgress, the Trib, and the Chron have more.

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3 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    Why are taxpayers paying for this nonsense? We need to see if there is some way to claw back the payments made from the people who had it paid on their behalf, like Farenthold. People work too hard for the money they pay in taxes to see it wasted like this.

  2. C.L. says:

    Here’s the immunity/impunity these ass hats operate under [under the umbrella of the Congressional Accountability Act]:

    “What are the rights of an employee who is requested to submit to a lie detector test under the ongoing investigation or controlled substances exceptions?

    During all phases of polygraph testing the employee being examined has the following rights:

    the examinee may terminate the test at any time;

    the examinee may not be asked any questions designed to degrade or unnecessarily intrude on the examinee;

    <<>>;

    and the examinee may not be tested when there is sufficient written evidence from a physician that the examinee is suffering from any medical or psychological condition or undergoing treatment that might cause abnormal responses during the test.”

  3. C.L. says:

    Whoops. This website eliminated the portion within the <>. It reads:

    “…the examinee may not be asked any questions regarding religious beliefs or affiliations, racial matters, political beliefs or affiliations, sexual behavior, or beliefs, affiliations, opinions, or lawful activities concerning unions or labor organizations;”

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