Finance reports raise questions about Farenthold’s use of campaign funds

Posted at 12:17 PM, Jul 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-17 13:17:09-04

Months after U.S. Congressman Blake Farenthold resigned, he used campaign funds to pay for legal bills and a large tab at a cocktail party.

A recent campaign filing with the Federal Election Commission detailed those expenses for the former congressman who quit April 6th during the fallout of a sexual harassment claim.

The campaign expenses included a $860 bill paid on June 22 for a political cocktail event in a Washington D.C. suburb. Also, the day Farenthold resigned, campaign finance records show he paid a $768 deposit at a resort in Sarasota, Florida.

Those events took place prior to Farenthold’s resignation, according to additional information filed Tuesday afternoon by his campaign treasurer. The cocktail bill is from a fundraiser held on Sept. 25, 2017. The payment for the resort in Florida was a non-refundable deposit for a political action committee event booked there in March 2018, according to the additional information reported to the FEC.

The FEC prohibits the use of campaign funds, and warns against using those funds for "leisure outings," unless the entertainment is part of campaign activity. 

Farenthold also spent more than $22,000 on legal fees after he resigned, according to the campaign finance report. The resignation came after reports that he used $84,000 of taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former staffer. Farenthold has said he is prohibited by law from repaying that money to the government.

When reached by phone today, Farenthold said he is unable to speak to the media.

There is about $3,300 left in his campaign account, according to the latest FEC filing.