U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold used tax payer dollars to settle a sexual harassment claim filed by a former staffer.
A report filed by Politico today states the Texas Congressman used $84,000 from a little-known congressional account known as the Office of Compliance fund to settle the claim.
According to Politico, House Administration Committee Chairman, Greg Harper (R-Miss. ) told GOP lawmakers this morning that only one member of the house in the past five years had used funds from the account, and that settlement totaled $84,000.
In a statement today, Farenthold said “While I 100 percent 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.”
The Office of Compliance has paid out $17 million since its establishment in 1995. However, it is unknown how much of that has been used specifically for claims of sexual misconduct. Parties involved must sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Farenthold’s former communications director, Lauren Greene alleged in a 2014 lawsuit that she was sexually harassed by Farenthold, and fired after complaining about a hostile work environment.
Farenthold denied any wrongdoing in the case.
A statement released from Farenthold’s office at the time the case was settled says:
The parties’ settlement expressly provides that both parties deny all liability. The parties look forward to moving beyond the allegations found in both the Complaint and the Answer, and wish each other the best. The strict confidentiality provisions of the Congressional Accountability Act, 2 U.S.C. 1416 preclude the parties from revealing any other information regarding this matter; accordingly, no further comment is permissible.
Farenthold is now serving his fourth term in the House.