Republican House member Blake Farenthold used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim against him, according to a report from the Associated Press.
Lauren Greene, who is a former communications director for Farenthold, claims that in 2014 she was sexually harassed and fired for complaining about a “hostile work environment.” Farenthold denied any wrongdoing after the claim was settled in 2015.
As the AP points out, the Office of Compliance released a report this Friday saying that around $360,000 has been paid out in settlements regarding complaints against “House offices.” Among those complaints was a sexual harassment claim, totaling $84,000.
From the AP:
An aide with knowledge of the settlement confirmed Friday that Farenthold is the lawmaker whose office paid the settlement. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because the individual was not authorized to publicly discuss the agreement.
Farenthold’s office released a statement saying he can’t confirm or deny using a little-known congressional account to settle a sexual harassment claim. He says the Congressional Accountability Act prohibits him from answering the question.
In her lawsuit, Greene says she heard through another aide that Farenthold was talking about his “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” for Greene. She also claimed Farenthold made sexually suggestive comments to her, adding that he told her in 2014 that he was “estranged from his wife and had not had sex with her in years.”
Lawmaker behind secret $84K sexual harassment settlement unmasked
Guess which one?
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“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.'”
Virginia GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock has called on Farenthold to step down and reimburse taxpayers for the money used in the settlement, adding that both parties should waive their confidentiality agreement so they can give testimony as to what happened.
“[H]e should pay back the money to the taxpayers,” Comstock’s deputy chief of staff, Jeff Marschner, said according to POLITICO. “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.”
Featured image via screen grab (MSNBC)