Months after admitting to using $84,000 in taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit — and promising to pay back the Treasury within the week — Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold has resigned from Congress, effective at 5 pm Friday. He also deleted his Twitter account.
In a statement, Farenthold said, “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’s resignation comes a week and a half after Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) wrote a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan asking him to “hold Congressman Blake Farenthold to his promise” to repay the Treasury for the funds used for the settlement.
“I hope Blake is true to his word and pays back the $84,000 of taxpayer money he used as a settlement,” said Steve Stivers in a statement, the chair of the National Republican Campaign Committee.
.@NRCC Statement on Rep. Blake Farenthold's resignation:— Matt Gorman (@mattsgorman) April 6, 2018
“I hope Blake is true to his word and pays back the $84,000 of taxpayer money he used as a settlement."https://t.co/lIFQFK6Y5b pic.twitter.com/C3AzI0T3Y2
Farenthold didn’t mention the money in his resignation letter. He never responded to the coverage of Speier’s letter.
Farenthold is the only known sitting member of Congress to have used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by a former staffer, Lauren Greene, who alleged that Farenthold had told an assistant in his office that he fantasized about her and had acted inappropriately toward her and other women in his office. In December, the House Committee on Ethics announced the formation of a new subcommittee to investigate the allegations against Farenthold, and Farenthold promised to retire at the end of his term.
I emailed Farenthold’s office to determine whether Farenthold planned to or has already paid back the $84,000 he owes the Treasury, and will update when I get a response.