Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold Resigns Amid Sexual Harassment Scandal

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) announced Friday that he is resigning from Congress immediately after facing a backlash over using $84,000 in taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment claim.

“While I planned on serving out the remainder of my term in Congress, I know in my heart it’s time for me to move along and look for new ways to serve,” Farenthold said in a statement.

The abrupt resignation is effective as of 5 p.m. on Friday, according to his office.

Lauren Greene, the congressman’s former communications director, sued her boss over allegations he fostered a hostile work environment where gender discrimination and sexual harassment were prevalent.

Farenthold initially said he would not seek reelection in December after coming under fire for using an Office of Compliance account to pay his accuser. It’s unclear whether he has made good on his promise to pay back the $84,000, but a statement from the National Republican Congressional Committee indicates he has not.

“I hope Blake is true to his word and pays back the $84,000 of taxpayer money he used as a settlement,” said NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers. “As I have said repeatedly, Congress must hold ourselves to a higher standard and regain the trust of the American people.”

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SOURCE: The Hill, Juliegrace Brufke