Blake Farenthold resigns from Congress after sexual misconduct claims


"I had no idea how to run a congressional office, and as a result, I allowed a workplace culture to take root in my office that was too permissive and decidedly unprofessional", Farenthold said in December.

"Whereas I deliberate on serving out the rest of my time period in Congress, I do know in my coronary heart it's time for me to maneuver alongside and search for new methods to serve", Farenthold stated in an announcement Friday night, noting he despatched a letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to inform him about his resignation, efficient at 5 p.m.

Republican Blake Farenthold announced he's resigning from the House of Representatives effective Friday, a few months after news broke he used taxpayer money to pay a settlement to a former aide who accused the Texas Republican of sexual harassment and other improper conduct. Still, the congressman apologized in that video for an office atmosphere he said included "destructive gossip, offhand comments, off-color jokes and behavior that, in general, was less than professional".

The House in February passed landmark legislation to overhaul Capitol Hill's sexual harassment policies following a string of recent revelations that multiple lawmakers engaged in misconduct. He had declared last year he would not seek reelection this year.

According to Greene, another co-worker had said Farenthold said he had "sexual fantasies" and "wet dreams" about her and had told Greene that he was "estranged from his wife and had not had sex with her in years".

In late 2017, the House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into the congressman over harassment accusations. Farenthold has promised to reimburse the Treasury Department for the cost of the settlement, but hasn't done so yet.

Farenthold was first elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, defeating Democratic Rep. Solomon Ortiz. His re-election from then on was essentially assured when the Republican-led legislature dramatically redrew his 27th District and made it far more GOP-friendly.

Farenthold's office did not respond to inquires about whether he had repaid the settlement money, but, in a statement, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, urged the outgoing representative to do so.

"I look forward to staying in touch with everyone", Farenthold said.

Weissert reported from Austin, Texas.