Report: Lawmaker used $84K from taxpayer funds for sexual harassment settlement

Politico reports, citing sources, that Republican Representative Blake Farenthold used a taxpayer-funded Office of Compliance account for a sexual harassment settlement.

The publication notes that Farenthold was sued in 2014 by his former communications director, Lauren Greene, “over allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.”

In the lawsuit, which was settled confidentially between the parties after a court filing, Greene claimed that she was fired after complaining about various grievances.

According to Politico, while House Administration Committee Chairman Gregg Harper informed Republican lawmakers Friday that “only one House office in the past five years had used an Office of Compliance account to settle a sexual harassment complaint,” totaling $84,000, Farenthold declined to link it back to himself, saying he could neither confirm nor deny, citing the Congressional Accountability Act.

However, NBC News reports that according to two sources familiar with the case, the “settlement was for the complaint against Farenthold.”

Amid the recent surfacing of sexual misconduct allegations against many prominent individuals, names of multiple lawmakers have emerged.

Democratic Representative John Conyers is facing pressure from both sides of the aisle to step down in the face of the allegations that he denies. 

According to The Hill, Conyers recently acknowledged that “he had reached a $27,000 settlement with an accuser in 2015, which was also footed by taxpayers. The settlement involved a charge of wrongful dismissal by a former employee.”

Over the past few days, there’s been renewed attention on how such issues involving lawmakers are addressed.

“Farenthold’s statement Friday is sure to spark new calls to pass bipartisan legislation that would release the parties to Office of Compliance settlements from the mandatory nondisclosure agreements that come with them,” the New York Times noted.

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