Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold has had a rough 2017. Over the summer he bragged on a radio show that he would like to challenge the three women who are also Republican senators to a duel (with guns!) for not slavishly supporting efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act — remarks that further blew up in his face when Sen. Susan Collins, well, made fun of his face. In August, during coverage of Hurricane Harvey, Farenthold was further ridiculed when he was drenched while giving an interview. Moreover, whenever he makes news, the story about him wearing pajamas at a lingerie party always resurfaces.
In another blow to Farenthold’s image, the Congressman reportedly reached a tax-payer funded settlement for sexual harassment with his former communications director, Lauren Greene, in 2014. While the initial lawsuit filed by Greene against her formal boss was public knowledge, the settlement and its amount were not.
According to Politico, Greene and Farenthold co-wrote an announcement of their settlement, which they say they reached in order to save taxpayers from further legal fees, but the statement was never released to the public:
“[A]fter 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,” the statement read. “After extensive discussion and consideration, the parties jointly agreed to accept the solution proposed by the mediator.”
The statement 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.”
The statement also included language where neither party accepted responsibility as well as a non-disclosure agreement.
In her lawsuit, Greene, who worked for Farenthold for 18 months, alleged that the congressman and his top aide, Bob Haueter, sexually harassed her and routinely made inappropriate comments to her in private settings and in front of others. After making a formal complaint, Greene was fired.
The Office of Congressional Ethics investigated Farenthold and found Greene’s allegations to be baseless. Now the public, specifically the voters of Texas’ 27th district, have the receipts.