Blake Farenthold

Dogged By Sexual Misconduct Claims, Farenthold Slogs Ahead in Texas
Texas GOP delegation remains tight-lipped about support of congressman’s fifth-term bid

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, has carried on his re-election campaign amid a sexual misconduct controversy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Blake Farenthold signaled Monday he intends to slog ahead with his re-election campaign against the storm of sexual misconduct claims against him, the Texas Tribune reported.

The fourth-term Lone Star State Republican, 56, will face a crowded GOP primary to keep his 27th District seat, with five challengers declaring they’ll take him on.

Opinion: The Real Year of the Woman
Female lawmakers are playing outsize role in sexual harassment debate

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., resigned after he reportedly suggested that a female staffer carry his child for $5 million and then retaliated against her when she balked. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It takes a special kind of depravity for a congressman to suggest to a female staffer that she carry his child for $5 million and then retaliate against her when she declines the offer, as former Rep. Trent Franks reportedly did last year.

Nobody is winning a profile in courage award for asking female staff members to cuddle with him in his apartment and then firing them after they refuse, as former Rep. John Conyers Jr. was accused of doing before he resigned in disgrace. And you’d think that voters would somehow weed out a senator who apparently had a groping habit before he was ever in politics, but former Sen. Al Franken proved that conventional wisdom wrong.

Fifty-Plus Female Democratic Lawmakers Urge Investigation Into Trump Allegations
Group sends letter to oversight committee over sexual misconduct claims

More than 50 female Democratic lawmakers are pushing for an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against President Donald Trump. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

More than 50 female Democratic lawmakers on Monday asked leaders in the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to open an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against President Donald Trump.

In a letter to Chairman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings of Maryland, 59 lawmakers from the Democratic Women’s Working Group (DWWG) said the president’s own comments “appear to back up the allegations.”

Exclusive: Taxpayers Paid $220K to Settle Case Involving Rep. Alcee Hastings
Former commission staffer alleged sexual harassment by Florida Democrat

Florida Rep. Alcee L. Hastings was accused of sexual misconduct by a former staff member of the Helsinki Commission. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Treasury Department paid $220,000 in a previously undisclosed agreement to settle a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment that involved Florida Democrat Alcee L. Hastings, according to documents obtained by Roll Call.

Winsome Packer, a former staff member of a congressional commission that promotes international human rights, said in documents that the congressman touched her, made unwanted sexual advances, and threatened her job. At the time, Hastings was the chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, where Packer worked.

Ethics Committee Expands Investigation Into Farenthold
Texas Republican accused of sexual harassment, retaliation

Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold is facing an inquiry by the House Ethics Investigative Subcommittee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ethics committee announced Thursday it unanimously voted to establish a subcommittee to build on its investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold.

So far, the panel has reviewed more than 200,000 pages and interviewed multiple witnesses, according to a statement released by Ethics Chairwoman Susan W. Brooks of Indiana and ranking member Ted Deutch of Florida. 

Want to Know Who Else Has Been Accused of Sexual Harassment in Congress? Good Luck
Congressional offices can’t release basic details of complaints — even to lawmakers

Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock says Congress must “fundamentally change” how sexual harassment complaints are handled. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The details of sexual harassment complaints against members of Congress and their staffs are secret and cannot be released to lawmakers seeking to determine the extent of the problem on Capitol Hill, a congressional official testified Thursday. 

“The law doesn’t allow us to release anything,” said Susan Tsui Grundmann, the executive director of the Office of Compliance, which oversees the response to sexual harassment complaints in Congress. She told a hearing of the House Administrative Committee that if lawmakers want to know more — including the number of complaints filed and the names of the accused — they will have to change the law. 

Conyers’ Downfall Was Richmond’s ‘Most Trying Moment’
‘You want to hold out hope that he did not do these awful things,’ Congressional Black Caucus chairman says

Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., walks down the House steps following a vote in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond called the downfall of Rep. John Conyers one of the most difficult moments in Richmond’s time leading the caucus.

Conyers announced his resignation effective immediately on Tuesday amid reports he sexually harassed multiple women. The Michigan Democrat also said he endorsed his son to run for his seat.

GOP Power Play in Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico
Conditional funding gains support amid talk of new Marshall Plan

Workers in Caguas, south of San Juan, Puerto Rico, repair electrical lines on Oct. 25, more than a month after Hurricane Maria hit the island. (Ramon Tonito Zayas/AP file photo)

In late September, just over a week after winds of 155 miles per hour flattened homes and struck down power lines and more than 30 inches of rain inundated parts of the island of Puerto Rico, a leader of the recovery efforts with the Army Corps of Engineers offered his blunt assessment of the damage.

“This is a massive undertaking, one in which I don’t think we’ve undertaken before in terms of this magnitude,” Col. James DeLapp told CNN. The closest thing he could think of by way of comparison? “When the Army Corps led the effort to restore … electricity in the early stages of the Iraq war in 2003 and 2004.”

Report: Farenthold to Pay Back Money for Sexual Harassment Settlement

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, said he plans to pay the federal government for money it paid to settle a sexual harassment claim against him. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Rep. Blake Farentholdtold a local news outlet he would pay the government back for a settlement for sexual harassment claim.

The Republican lawmaker told KRIS 6 News that was doing so even though the Office of Congressional Ethics cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Limiting Sexual Harassment Payouts ‘Complicated,’ Lawmakers Say
Funding limitation could be one response to sexual misconduct scandals roiling Capitol Hill

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said using the appropriations process to restrict settlement payouts was complex. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated, 4:05 p.m. | Lawmakers have been quick to express their disgust with sexual harassment payments that come out of federal coffers to cover the cost of elected officials’ behavior. But members are more guarded when asked whether they would take action by attaching a funding limitation to a spending bill — a common instrument used by lawmakers in appropriations.

Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a top Republican appropriator, sounded cautious after last week’s revelation that the Office of Compliance has doled out tens of thousands of dollars since 2013.