Blake Farenthold

Mixed Outcomes for Members Accused of Sexual Harassment in #MeToo Aftermath
Eight have either resigned or announced retirements in recent months

Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Murphy, center, resigned in October following reports that he asked a woman with whom he’d had an extramarital affair to get an abortion. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Here’s a look at how several lawmakers have responded to accusations of sexual misconduct since the #MeToo movement began last year.

Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., a member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, after reports that he had asked a woman with whom he’d had an extramarital affair to get an abortion. Announced Oct. 5, effective Oct. 21.

Texas Primaries: What to Watch in the First Contests of 2018
March 6 will see several competitive primary races in the Lone Star State

Gina Ortiz Jones is a Democratic candidate in Texas’ 23rd District. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the saying goes, everything’s bigger in Texas. That includes congressional primaries.

The March 6 elections will be the first primary contests of 2018, and the initial tests of first-time candidates running for Congress — Democrats competing in newly targeted seats and Republicans vying to replace outgoing GOP lawmakers.

Opinion: Women Played a Key Role in Harassment Bill
In the #MeToo era, some lawmakers may be scurrying for cover

Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., describes legislation aimed at helping victims of harassment on the Hill as “some of the most important work” she’ll ever do in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When people talk about women running for office, we hear a lot about numbers. X-number of women are running. Women make up y-percent of Congress or elected officials. When x and y are equal, then we’ll finally see a difference in our government.

But beyond the numbers, if you really want to see the difference it makes to have women from both parties at the table when legislation is drafted, look no further than the bill introduced last week to finally begin to change the way sexual harassment has been dealt with in Capitol Hill offices since the Congressional Accountability Act passed in 1995.

Meehan Denies Wrongdoing Following Report of Harassment Settlement
Pennsylvania Republican is a Democratic target this year

Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Meehan reportedly settled a harassment case using taxpayer funds. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 4:18 p.m. | Rep. Patrick Meehan denied allegations of misconduct Saturday, following a New York Times story that the Pennsylvania Republican used taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment case. The newspaper reported that the four-term lawmaker made unwanted romantic advances toward a female staffer in 2016.  

“Congressman Meehan denies the allegations,” his spokesman John Elizandro said in an email. “Throughout his career he has always treated his colleagues, male and female, with the utmost respect and professionalism.”

Bill Aimed at Combating Sexual Harassment Unveiled
Legislation would make process more transparent

Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock said in December that a bill aimed at combating sexual harassment on the Hill would put victims on “a level playing field.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:21 p.m. | A sweeping bill aimed at combating sexual harassment on Capitol Hill was introduced Thursday by House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper. The Mississippi Republican said he hopes the measure will be expedited through the chamber.

Lawmakers say the the bill will make the reporting, resolution and settlement process more transparent, while also protecting victims’ identities and providing options for House employees who come forward.

Texas Redistricting Case Heads to Supreme Court
Lower court ruling found vote dilution and racial gerrymandering

Shirley Connuck of Falls Church, Virginia, right, holds up a sign representing a district in Texas as protesters demonstrate outside the Supreme Court on Oct. 3, 2017, as the court was hearing a case on partisan gerrymandering. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether Texas must redraw its congressional maps because of gerrymanders, in a case that could have major implications for this year’s elections in the Lone Star State.

The justices announced Friday they will review an August ruling from a panel of three federal judges that the current map needs to be changed because it has intentional vote dilution in the 27th District and racial gerrymandering in the 35th District. Those districts are currently held by Republican Blake Farenthold and Democrat Lloyd Doggett, respectively.

Ethics Expands Farenthold Investigation, Announces Kihuen Probe
Committee now looking into whether Farenthold had congressional staff do campaign work

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, announced he would not seek re-election amid sexual harrassment allegations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House Ethics Committee announced it has established an investigation into claims of sexual harassment by Rep. Ruben Kihuen and expanded its probe of Rep. Blake Farenthold.

Two letters released by the committee Thursday laid out the details.

No Definite Sexual Harassment Settlements in Senate, Data Shows
Data from 1997 to 2017 reveals one case of sex discrimination

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., released information on settlements involving Senate offices Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 8:38 a.m. | The Senate appears to have kept a clean slate over the last two decades with regard to sexual harassment settlements, newly released data shows.

The Office of Compliance paid nearly $600,000 from its taxpayer-funded Awards and Settlement Fund to senator-led office employees for 13 settlements — but none of those were filed as sexual harassment cases, according to OOC data made public Thursday by the Senate Rules and Appropriations committees.

Investigative Ethics Panel Established for Kihuen Allegations, Expansion Into Farenthold Claims
A House Ethics subcommittee will look into sexual misconduct allegations for Democrat and Republican

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., speaks with fellow Democrats at a spring press conference on Trump and Russia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ethics Committee established Thursday an investigative subcommittee to evaluate separate claims that Reps. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., and Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, engaged in sexual misbehavior, according to a statement from committee leaders. 

The Office of Congressional Ethics had previously investigated sexual harassment allegations from Farenthold’s former communications director. The congressman reached a private settlement with the former employee.

Texas Democrats Drop Bid to Keep Farenthold on Ballot
Congressman announced last week he would not run again amid sexual harassment allegations

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, leaves the Capitol following final votes of the week last Thursday.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Democrats dropped a lawsuit that would have attempted to keep retiring Rep. Blake Farenthold on the ballot in next year’s elections.

Farenthold last Thursday announced he would not seek re-election next year amid allegations of sexual harassment. But his decision came three days after the deadline to file for the primary.