GOP Rep. Blake Fahrenthold Settled Sexual Harassment Lawsuit With $84K In Taxpayer Money: Report
Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas reportedly used $84,000 in taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim by Lauren Greene, his former communications director.
Farenthold kept the settlement a secret by using a little-known congressional account to pay off Greene, sources told POLITICO.
Greene sued Farenthold in December 2014 for gender discrimination, sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.
According to Greene’s lawsuit, a Farenthold aide told Greene that Farenthold said he had “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” about Greene.
Greene’s lawsuit also said that Farenthold “regularly drank to excess,” and that Farenthold told Greene in February 2014 that he was “estranged from his wife and had not had sex with her in years.”
When Greene complained Farenthold’s comments and a male staffer’s comments, she claims that Farenthold fired her.
Greene later dropped her lawsuit when she and Farenthold reached a settlement, which taxpayers reportedly paid for.
Farenthold issued a statement:
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.
However, an unreleased joint statement by both Greene and Farenthold at the time of settlement said:
[A]fter it became clear that further litigating this case would come at great expense to all involved — including the taxpayers — the parties engaged in mediation with a court-appointed mediator. After extensive discussion and consideration, the parties jointly agreed to accept the solution proposed by the mediator.
The parties believe that the mediator’s solution saves the parties, and the taxpayers, significant sums that would be expended in further discovery and/or trial.