Congressman who settled sexual harassment complaint to reimburse taxpayers

Blake Farenthold used $84,000 in public funds to settle a sexual harassment complaint in 2014.


Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, said he will reimburse taxpayers after it was revealed he used public funds to settle with a former aide who sued him for sexual harassment in 2014. 

Farenthold, speaking to an NBC affiliate in Corpus Christi, said he will "hand a check over" this week for the $84,000 received by his former communications director, Lauren Greene, who accused him of making inappropriate comments designed to gauge whether she was interested in a sexual relationship. The congressman denied wrongdoing in the case. 

"I want to be clear that I didn't do anything wrong," Farenthold told KRIS 6 News Monday in an interview posted online. "But I also don't want the taxpayers to be on the hook for this, and I want to be able to talk about it and fix the system without people saying, 'Blake, you benefited from this system. You don't have a right to talk about it or fix it.' " 

Farenthold said he would probably give the check to Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. 

The existence of a settlement between Farenthold and Greene was already public knowledge, but the amount was not reported until Friday, when the Committee on House Administration released information about settlements involving House members' offices over the past five years. Farenthold was the only House member to settle a sexual harassment complaint during that period. 

In total, the Treasury fund has paid for settlements related to six claims against House members' offices since 2013, according to information provided by the Office of Compliance to the Committee on House Administration. The five complaints not pertaining to sexual harassment alleged one or more forms of employment discrimination and in some cases, retaliation.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Democratic candidates for Florida governor square off at debate
Democratic candidates for Florida governor square off at debate

Three of the four Democrats vying to replace Rick Scott as governor of the third-largest state in the nation get their news first from The New York Times, and only one, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, relies on his hometown paper to find out what’s going on in the world. The insight into who’s reading what was among the lighter moments...
Donald Trump makes a rare concession of defeat in eulogizing Barbara Bush
Donald Trump makes a rare concession of defeat in eulogizing Barbara Bush

President Donald Trump speaking at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago on Wednesday. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post) PALM BEACH — President Donald Trump often compares himself to other presidents — and often finds his predecessors lacking. At a joint...
Florida Gov. Scott, Seminoles reach deal on gambling money
Florida Gov. Scott, Seminoles reach deal on gambling money

As legislative leaders hold behind-the-scenes talks about revamping the gambling industry, Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday announced a deal that will lead to the Seminole Tribe continuing to pay more than $300 million a year in casino money to the state. The tribe would continue making the payments, which are rooted in a 2010 gambling agreement, through...
PEACE calls for community IDs, slams commissioners who skipped meeting
PEACE calls for community IDs, slams commissioners who skipped meeting

More than 2,000 people attended a community meeting at the Palm Beach County Convention Center Monday evening, but organizers were miffed that figure wasn’t a little larger. Officials from the social activism group People Engaged in Active Community Efforts called out six of the county’s seven commissioners for skipping the gathering, saying...
Busy Twitter morning at Mar-a-Lago as Trump-Abe summit continues
Busy Twitter morning at Mar-a-Lago as Trump-Abe summit continues

President Donald Trump arriving at Palm Beach International Airport on Monday. (Melanie Bell/The Palm Beach Post) Before he begins the second day of an international summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump has confirmed a top-secret meeting between CIA Director...
More Stories