On its own, last week’s news that Republican Texas Representative Blake Farenthold registered the domain name “Blow-me.org” when he owned a computer consulting business in the ‘90s is amusing, but inconsequential. However, add that to a new lawsuit accusing the congressman of sexual harassment (plus an old photo of Farenthold wearing duckie pajamas and standing next to a lingerie model) and you’ve got one of the more colorful accusations of congressional misconduct in recent memory.
In court documents filed Monday, Lauren Greene, Farenthold’s former communications director, claims that he regularly made comments meant to “gauge whether Plaintiff was interested in a sexual relationship.” She says she was cut out of important meetings after she complained, and was then fired in July 2014.
Greene claims that when she mentioned to the congressman’s executive assistant, Emily Wilkes, that he seemed to be avoiding her, she said he’d “admitted to being attracted to Plaintiff and to having ‘sexual fantasies’ and ‘wet dreams’ about Plaintiff.” She describes Farenthold pointing out that she had a stain on her skirt, saying “a reasonable person would infer that Farenthold was joking that she had semen on her skirt.”
The suit goes on to allege that Farenthold’s chief of staff, Bob Haueter, contributed to the “gender discrimination” and “hostile work environment,” at one point threatening to send her home because he could see her nipples through her shirt. She says that when she complained to the congressman, he told her to “stand up for herself” and commented that she could show her nipples whenever she wanted.
Greene also offers this tidbit: “Farenthold regularly drank to excess, and because of his tendency to flirt, the staffers who accompanied him to Capitol Hill functions would joke that they had to be on ‘red head patrol’ to keep him out of trouble.”
Farenthold spokesman Kurt Bardella told National Journal that the congressman cannot comment on the specifics of the case because the lawsuit is pending, but “it goes without saying that both the Congressman and the members of his staff who are included in this complaint have a very different view of the allegations than Ms. Greene.” Bardella added, “For the record, the Office did not and does not discriminate based on sex or any other unlawful factor. The Congressman is eager to respond to Ms. Greene’s allegations through the appropriate legal process and is confident that once all of the facts are revealed, he will be cleared of any wrongdoing.”