It's already public knowledge that Texas Congressman Blake Farenthold was sued in 2014 for sexually harassing one of his staff members — and the case was settled out in court. What Farenthold's Corpus Christi constituents didn't know, however, is that he used their dollars to pay for the settlement.
According to a Politico investigation
, Farenthold covered the cost of this sexual harassment settlement with $84,000 of taxpayer funds.
Farenthold, a Republican member of the House, was initially sued in 2014 by Lauren Greene, a former communications staffer in his D.C. office. Greene alleged that Farenthold told her he had "wet dreams"
about her, told her about his sex life and once joked that she had a semen stain on her clothing in the office.
This is the same congressman that had registered the URL blow-me.org in 1999 and in 2016, told an MSNBC reporter he might support a candidate who enjoys "raping women."
Investigation into where that settlement money came from began Friday morning, when, in a closed-door meeting with lawmakers, House Administration Committee Chairman Gregg Harper said that only one House member in the past five years had used taxpayer funds from the Office of Compliance to settle a sexual harassment complaint.
When reporters asked Farenthold if it was him that Harper was referencing, the congressman said he could "neither confirm nor deny" the claim, Politico writes.
But a joint statement both Greene and Farenthold prepared to share when the settlement concluded (but was never released) delivered a more confident answer.
"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,” reads the statement, obtained by Politico through Greene's lawyer. They appear to admit taxpayers played a significant role in bankrolling the settlement.
Farenthold has yet to respond.