Congressman's sexual harassment settlement paid with tax dollars


The revelations make him the only known sitting member of Congress to use an Office of Compliance account to settle a sexual harassment dispute, according to the news outlet.

The Post confirmed that the member behind the $84,000 settlement was Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, who was sued by his former communications director over alleged harassment in 2014.

Under the law, the executive director of the Office of Compliance has authority to share records of hearings and decisions with the House and Senate ethics committees. In December of that year, she filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing Farenthold of making sexually charged statements toward her and engaging in off-color behavior.

Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., who is the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, told House Republicans Friday morning in a closed-door meeting that the Office of Compliance had made just one settlement for sexual harassment complaints, in the amount of $84,000 since 2012.

The hush fund was revealed to the American public recently as Representative John Conyers acknowledged he had reached a $27,000 settlement with a woman who formerly worked on his Washington staff and alleged Conyers fired her after she rebuffed a sexual advance from him.

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However, NBC News reports that according to two sources familiar with the case, the "settlement was for the complaint against Farenthold".

Greene reportedly complained that Farenthold drank excessively, talked about a female lobbyist who he said propositioned him for a threesome, and that Haueter had commented that Greene could "show her nipples whenever she wanted to". Farenthold denied wrongdoing in the case.

"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. "After extensive discussion and consideration, the parties jointly agreed to accept the solution proposed by the mediator".

Politico received a copy of a statement the two prepared at the time of the settlement but never released.

Politico reported that the lawmaker in question is Farenthold. But by keeping cases confidential, critics say the public money is being used to shelter the unnamed sexual harassers, and potentially endangering more victims. The account was meant to protect the workplace rights of congressional staffers.