The only sitting U.S. congressman known to wear ducky pajamas in public is also the only sitting U.S. congressman to have settled a sexual-harassment claim with Treasury Department funds in the past five years. Texas Republican Blake Farenthold paid a former staffer $84,000 from a Treasury Department fund in 2014, settling charges of gender discrimination and sexual harassment, Politico reports.
In a lawsuit, Farenthold’s former communications director Lauren Greene said the 55-year-old father of two “regularly drank to excess” and was so flirtatious that staffers accompanying him to Capitol Hill functions would have to be on “red head patrol to keep him out of trouble.”
Greene said in the suit that Farenthold once told her about a threesome he turned down and complained about his less-than-active sex life with his wife. He also told Greene, the suit claims, that she could “show her nipples whenever she wanted,” while another staffer told her the congressman had “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” about her.
After Greene complained, she said Farenthold froze her out and then fired her. She quickly filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, but it was dropped after Greene was paid $84,000 from a Treasury Department fund created to settle workplace claims for members of Congress.
On Friday, the Office of Compliance reported to Congress on how that fund has been used the past five years. Farenthold is the only member to use it to settle a sexual-harassment claim. Five other settlements, mostly resulting from employment-discrimination claims, were also paid in the past five years.
Farenthold’s office put out a statement Friday saying the he “adamantly denies any wrongdoing.” And the Office of Congressional Ethics, which investigated the allegations, sided with the four-term congressman after finding no “substantial reason to believe” Greene’s charges. But Farenthold will have a harder time convincing the American public that he’s not a creep as long as this picture is still on the internet.