6 Investigates Follows-Up: Farenthold's $84,000 repayment to tax - KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

6 Investigates Follows-Up: Farenthold's $84,000 repayment to taxpayers "on hold."

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U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold's plan to repay $84,000 in taxpayer funding used to settle a lawsuit against his office is on hold, according to Chief of Staff Bob Hauter.

The fourth-term lawmaker vowed to repay the money during an exclusive interview with KRIS-6, on December 3, in which he said he was not given a choice in whether to spend taxpayer money on the lawsuit, filed by a former employee.

He has since announced his plan to retire when his term expires in a year, as other employees have come forward with allegations of mental and emotional abuse while working in Farenthold's Washington, D.C. office.

"I allowed a workplace culture to take root in my office that was too permissive and decidedly unprofessional," Farenthold said.

And yet, through it all, the Republican lawmaker has insisted he will remain true to his word, and repay the money.

But, the plan is on hold as Congress works to amend the law under which harassment claims are processed.

"On advice of his personal legal counsel, Rep. Farenthold is going to wait and see what the House does with respect to changes to the current Congressional Accountability Act," Hauter said.

The Act requires lawsuit settlements to be paid out of a fund appropriated by the Congress.

But, Hauter says, it may be amended to require anyone who benefited from the settlement fund, to repay it.

"With all of that going on, Rep. Farenthold's attorney said, 'They won't accept it - can't even figure out how to accept it - so, wait and see what comes out of the push to amend the law."

Information out of the House Administration Committee shows that 15 claims against Congressional offices totaling $342,225, were paid out in a five year period from 2008 through 2012.

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