INBOX: House Administration Committee releases info on settlements made by lawmakers' offices since fiscal year 2013: pic.twitter.com/AQO9UhTQT9— Ed O'Keefe (@edatpost) December 1, 2017
Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore’s sexual assault scandal stirred trouble on Capitol Hill. Since then names of several lawmakers have emerged who have been accused of sexual misconduct.
Amid the ongoing controversies, it has emerged Republican Blake Farenthold of Texas reportedly used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit against him.
According to Politico, in 2014, Farenthold’s former spokeswoman Lauren Greene filed a lawsuit against him accusing the Republican of sexual harassment. The lawsuit also alleged that another aide told Greene that Farenthold had “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” about her.
Greene added that the lawmaker would often overdrink and would tell her he was “estranged from his wife and had not had sex with her in years.” She also accused him of a hostile work environment, gender discrimination, and retaliation.
In another instance, a male staffer Bob Haueter had complained about Greene's shirt claiming it was “transparent and showed [Greene's] nipples.”
In turn, “Farenthold told [another woman staffer] that [Greene] could show her nipples whenever she wanted to,” the complaint alleged.
After the repeated incidents, Greene issued a direct complaint to Farenthold but weeks later she was fired.
Despite getting terminated from her job, Greene didn’t back off. She went to the Office of Compliance and raised the issue there. She was counseled and she later decided to file a lawsuit against the Republican lawmaker.
Greene filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia but after a private settlement between both the parties was made, the lawsuit was canceled.
Although the settlement was confidential but recently in a meeting it was revealed that only one lawmaker had used public funds to settle a sexual harassment complaint.
In a letter sent to House Administration Committee Chair Gregg Harper the compliance office said that since 2013 it has paid settlements on two claims including sex discrimination allegations and one alleging sexual harassment.
It paid $84,000 for one sexual harassment claim and $7,000 in one case alleging both sex and religious discrimination.
After Politico investigated, it was revealed that the money paid on behalf of Texas Republican Blake Farenthold.
A statement was prepared by both Greene and Farenthold at the time of the settlement was reached but it was never released.
“After it became clear that further litigating this case would come at great expense to all involved — including the taxpayers — the parties engaged in mediation with a court-appointed mediator. After extensive discussion and consideration, the parties jointly agreed to accept the solution proposed by the mediator,” read the statement.
It added, “The parties believe that the mediator’s solution saves the parties, and the taxpayers, significant sums that would be expended in further discovery and/or trial.”
After it was revealed that Farenthold was the one who used public funds to settle a sexual harassment scandal, he was reached out for a comment on the revelation.
“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.
This is GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold, the congressman who reached a secret $84,000 sexual harassment settlement paid with taxpayer funds.— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) December 1, 2017
Who’d have ever thought? pic.twitter.com/1p2JJWPHO7
Thumbnail Credits : Wikimedia Commons, US House Office of Photography