A month after suddenly resigning from Congress, hoping to avoid more fallout from the sexual harassment allegations he’s been facing, former Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) already has a new job: as a lobbyist to Congress.
Farenthold spent $84,000 of the public’s money to settle a sexual harassment case with his former communications director. And despite repeated promises to repay the settlement, he is now refusing to do so.
The Victoria (TX) Advocate reports that Farenthold has landed on his feet with a $160,000 per year job as the legislative liaison for the Port of Port Lavaca-Point Comfort, which is located in Texas’ Matagorda Bay.
Farenthold represented the area in Congress, and the Washington Examiner reported that just two years ago he secured federal funding for a dredging project at the port. The congressman worked with the Calhoun Port Authority to get the project “100 percent paid funded by the federal government,” and port director Charles Hausmann couldn’t have been happier:
The contract came in at $2.14 million, so it saved the citizens of Calhoun County a lot.
Farenthold’s new salary is roughly double the amount he spent in taxpayer money to settle a 2014 sexual harassment lawsuit brought against him by his former aide Lauren Greene, though he already has a net worth of millions of dollars.
Greene alleged in legal documents that the Texas congressman had told another aide that Greene could “show her nipples whenever she wanted to” and that he had “wet dreams” about her. She described Farenthold as often being drunk and flirtatious at work, complaining of a sexless marriage, and telling her a story about a female lobbyist who propositioned him for “a threesome.”
Asked on Tuesday whether he would make the payment in the wake of his new job, Farenthold said he has no intention of doing so. He told ABC,
I will say this on the record: I have been advised by my attorneys not to repay that. That’s why it hasn’t been repaid.
Farenthold resigned abruptly, just as the House Ethics Committee was about to rule against him in an investigation into whether he sexually harassed members of his staff, used official money for campaign purposes and lied in testimony to the committee.
His resignation effectively ended the probe, since he was no longer a member of the House. Had it continued, the committee might have required him to pay back the $84,000.
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), who has been critical of Farenthold for his indiscretions, encouraged her colleagues to not meet with him as he plies his new trade, according to HuffPost:
I would hope Republicans would stand up for what’s right and say he is not allowed in their offices until he pays up.
Yeah, that’s gonna happen…
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