GOP Lawmaker Openly Defrauds Taxpayers, Refuses To Repay $84K Sexual Harassment Settlement
Disgraced Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold (R) says he will not pay back $84,000 in taxpayer dollars used to settle a sexual harassment case against him, despite pledging to do so last year.
In a statement to ABC News, the former lawmaker says he will not to pay back the money used to settle his lawsuit, which became public last year and led to Farenthold’s resignation.
“I will say this on the record: I have been advised by my attorneys not to repay that,” Farenthold told ABC News.
The Texas Republican was sued in 2014 by his former communications director, who alleged he fostered a hostile work environment, sexually harassed female staffers, and discriminated against women. Farenthold denied the accusations, but resigned after pressure from other lawmakers and the media.
“I want to be clear that I didn’t do anything wrong, but I also don’t want the taxpayers to be on the hook for this,” Farenthold said last year in a statement. “And I want to be able to talk about it and fix the system without people saying, ‘Blake, you benefited from the system, you don’t have a right to talk about it or fix it.’ ”
The House Ethics Committee, led by Reps. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), released a statement in April reminding Farenthold of his pledge and urging him to repay the settlement.
“We note Representative Farenthold publicly promised to reimburse the U.S. Treasury for $84,000 in funds paid to settle the lawsuit brought against him for claims of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and retaliation,” the statement read. “We encourage him in the strongest possible terms to uphold that promise.”