- The Washington Times - Friday, December 1, 2017

Rep. Blake Farenthold settled a sexual harassment claim with taxpayer money, Politico reported Friday.

Lauren Greene, Mr. Farenthold’s former communications director, filed a sexual harassment claim against the Texas Republican in 2014. She said the congressman told her he fantasized about her sexually and had “wet dreams” about her. When she complained she was fired.

House Administration Committee Chairman Gregg Harper released information from the Office of Compliance showing only one sexual harassment claim had been paid out over the past five years, at a cost of $84,000. Five other discrimination complaints against members were also settled. None of the lawmakers was named in the public release.

Mr. Farenthold avoided answering whether the settlement was related to him.

“While I 100% support more transparency with respect to claims against members of Congress, I can neither confirm nor deny that settlement involved my office as the Congressional Accountability Act prohibits me from answering that question,” he said in a statement to Politico.

Mr. Farenthold said Monday that his statement was directed by a lawyer and that he didn’t do anything wrong. He also promised to pay the money back to the taxpayers.

“I wish I could have said something Friday. … I went to the House lawyer and said, ‘What can I say?, and they said ‘Nothing. … Here’s the statement that you can make,’ ” Mr. Farenthold said to KRISTV, according to their transcript. The entire interview is set to air on their evening news program.

The congressman said he will present a check to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan this week, and has taken out a loan to make the payment.

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