GOP Rep. Farenthold Won't Seek Re-Election After Sexual Abuse Charges

Dec 14, 2017
Originally published on December 14, 2017 6:00 pm

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, has announced he won't run for another term in 2018, following allegations that he harassed female staff members and created a poor environment in his office.

Farenthold had come under criticism when it was revealed taxpayers paid $84,000 to settle a harassment claim against him by a former aide in 2014, though he denies wrongdoing.

In a video he posted Thursday, Farenthold called the charges by Lauren Greene, his former communications director, "false."

The four-term congressman did say that he had "allowed a workplace culture in my office that was too permissive and decidedly unprofessional" and had allowed the stress of the job to manifest itself "in angry outbursts and too often a failure to treat people with the respect that they deserved. That was wrong."

Asked by reporters if he denies the allegations against him, Farenthold said on Thursday, "There've been so many, I don't know what all is going on."

Farenthold is the latest member of Congress to announce he is resigning or not seeking re-election because of sexual abuse allegations, amid a national coming to terms with the hostile treatment of women in the workplace. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has said he will resign after charges that he inappropriately touched several women, and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., resigned after harassment allegations.

In addition, Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., stepped down last week after charges he had asked former staffers to serve as surrogate mothers, and Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, said he won't seek re-election after a nude photo of him appeared online.

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