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Texas Republican used taxpayer money to settle sexual harassment scandal

by Rex Santus
Dec 1 2017, 1:14pm

Rep. Blake Farenthold, a Republican from Texas, used taxpayer money to pay off his former communications director who had accused him of sexual harassment, according to a report from Politico.

Lauren Greene sued Farenthold in December 2014, alleging the lawmaker told her he’d had “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” about her. She also claimed he was a heavy drinker and talked about his estrangement from his wife, who he said he hadn’t had a sexual relationship with in years. Greene said that Farenthold improperly fired her when she complained.

The lawsuit was later dropped after the parties reached a settlement.

“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,’” Greene’s complaint alleged. “On one occasion, prior to February 2014, during a staff meeting at which [Greene] was in attendance, Farenthold disclosed that a female lobbyist had propositioned him for a ‘threesome.’”

Greene also said that Farenthold’s top aide, Bob Haueter, harassed her.

House Administration Committee Chairman Gregg Harper, a Republican from Mississippi, told his GOP colleagues on Friday that in the last five years just one House office — presumably Farenthold’s — had used a little-known account from the Office of Compliance to pay for a settlement of a sexual harassment complaint. The settlement amount was $84,000, according to Politico.

Farenthold would neither confirm nor deny the report to Politico.

“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,” Farenthold said in a statement.