Blake Farenthold Used $84,000 In Taxpayer Money To Settle Sexual Harassment Claim, Politico Reports

Politico on Friday identified Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) as the congressman who used $84,000 in taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment claim.

Just one legislator has tapped into a congressional fund to settle a sexual harassment claim since 2013, according to a list released Friday by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), chairman of the Committee on House Administration. The fund can be used to settle lawsuits levied against lawmakers.

Congress declined to name the person connected to the $84,000. But according to a Politico report published Friday, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) is the legislator behind the settlement.

In a lawsuit filed in 2014, Lauren Greene, Farenthold’s former communications director, accused the congressman of harassing her. A Farenthold aide told Greene the lawmaker had “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” about her, the lawsuit said, according to Politico. The lawsuit also claimed Farenthold bragged about a female lobbyist propositioning him for a threesome and told Green she “could show her nipples whenever she wanted to,” Politico reported. 

When Greene complained, she says she was fired.

Further litigating this case would come at great expense to all involved ― including the taxpayers.
Rep. Blake Farenthold’s statement on his settlement with a former staffer

The two later settled for an undisclosed amount. In a statement prepared at the time, Farenthold denied wrongdoing and said he settled because “it became clear that further litigating this case would come at great expense to all involved ― including the taxpayers.” Farenthold also mentioned taxpayers in another part of the statement, saying he believed the solution saved taxpayers money.

In a statement, Farenthold told HuffPost he could neither confirm nor deny he was the legislator connected to the $84,000.

“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,” he said.

In response to a question from NPR about whether taxpayers should be paying to settle sexual harassment claims against legislators, Speaker Paul Ryan said he has an opinion and will make it known “very soon.” (Joshua Roberts / Reuters)

In an interview Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said he is reviewing whether the taxpayer-funded settlements should stay secret. He indicated…

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