Farenthold pens letter to Gov. Abbott, explains he won’t pay for special election

Posted at 6:00 PM, May 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-02 19:00:51-04

Former Congressman Blake Farenthold today sent a letter to Governor Greg Abbott explaining why he will not pay for the special election to fill the now vacant District 27 Congressional seat.

Last week, Governor Abbott sent his own letter to Farenthold asking him to pay for the special election.

In his letter to Governor Abbott, Farenthold stated he didn’t believe the governor was forced to call the emergency special election to fill his term, and that he also does not believe he should pay for it.

Farenthold did express gratitude to the governor for giving him the chance to tell his side of the story.

In an exclusive interview with KRIS 6 News, Farenthold said he’d been advised to "lay low" by friends and former colleagues, in hopes the controversy would blow over.

Farenthold originally decided not to run for re-election because of accusations by some of his staff of improper behavior.

One of those staffers had even filed a sexual harassment suit that Farenthold settled with $84,000 in taxpayer funds.

Farenthold had previously promised to pay that money back, but now says his attorneys are advising him not to.

According to Farenthold, the settlement was approved by both the chairman and ranking member of the House Committee on Administration, as well as the executive director of the Office of Compliance.

“This is not a secret fund,” Farenthold said. “This has been in the law for 20 years and instead of reporting the facts, some pundits are trying to make an issue out of it.”

Using the federal fund was required by law, under the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995.