- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 21, 2017

The House Ethics Committee announced Thursday that it was expanding the sexual harassment investigation of Rep. Blake Farenthold to look into improper campaign activity and whether he lied to the committee.

The expanding probe is the latest blow to the Texas Republican, who announced last week that he would not seek re-election in 2018.

The ethics investigation began when it emerged that Mr. Farenthold had settled a sexual harassment claim with a former staffer for $84,000 and other aides accused him of creating a hostile workplace environment.

The Ethics Committee stressed that the investigation did not indicate wrongdoing by Mr. Farenthold.

The ethics investigation of Mr. Farenthold now includes allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation against congressional staffers, requiring staff to work on his congressional campaign and charges that he made false statements or omissions in testimony to the Ethics Committee.

The 4-term congressman is one of several lawmakers caught up in the backlash against sexual harassment that has swept across the county following the Harvey Weinstein scandal. The furor against sexual misconduct by wealthy and powerful men has claimed careers in Hollywood, journals and Capitol Hill.

Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota and Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, both Democrats, announced their resignations in recent weeks after being accused of sexual harassment, as did Rep. Trent Franks, Arizona Republican.

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