When the hammer dropped on Harvey Weinstein, no one could have imagined the repercussions that would result. Not only were a handful of actors accused of sexual assault, but the safety net underneath even politicians was pulled out from under them.
Along with several accusations pointed directly at specific congressmen, it was revealed a secret account existed that was funded by taxpayers to settle sexual harassment accusations.
Though the knowledge that the fund exists is now well known, there has only been one representative named as a user of that fund. Thanks to POLITICO, we now know that Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) was one of the unknown users of the account. POLITICO reported:
‘Rep. Blake Farenthold used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim brought by his former spokesman – the only known sitting member of Congress to have used a little-known congressional account to pay an accuser…’
If you need a refresher, here’s a jog down memory lane. Farenthold is the guy dressed in duck pajamas who was standing next to a lingerie model at a fundraiser. Yea, that guy.
Shocker. If this guy wasn’t the poster child of a sexual assault claim waiting to happen, I don’t know who was. pic.twitter.com/h0UaxJdJUf
— Seymour Sludgeworth (@SSludgeworth) December 1, 2017
Farenthold’s communications director, Lauren Greene, accused Farenthold of “gender discrimination, sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.” Farenthold settled with Green for $84,000.
Let’s reiterate something here. That $84,000 that was used to settle with Greene? That was taxpayer money. That was the money you, the reader, worked hard and paid in hoping it would be used properly.
It wasn’t. It was used to pay off a woman who was subjected to Farenthold telling her he had “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” about her. For complaining about such disgusting things, she was fired. In the complaint she made, she stated:
‘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.”
‘On one occasion, prior to February 2014, during a staff meeting at which [Greene] was in attendance, Farenthold disclosed that a female lobbyist had propositioned him for a “threesome.”‘
Though lawyers for Farenthold and Greene would not confirm or deny the revelations, POLITICO obtained an unreleased statement that both parties had previously made that confirmed this.
‘[A]fter it became clear that further litigating this case would come at great expense to all involved – including the taxpayers – the parties engaged in mediation with a court-appointed mediator. After extensive discussion and consideration, the parties jointly agreed to accept the solution proposed by the mediator.
‘The parties believe that the mediator’s solution saves the parties, and the taxpayers, significant sums that would be expended in further discovery and /or trial.’
How benevolent. They only spent $84,000 of the American people’s money. That is chump change compared to the $17 million that has been paid out over time to settle complaints, however.
What’s important is to note Farenthold is not the first to have stolen taxpayer money to cover up his own sick behavior. The American people must demand that representatives who have used this fund pay back the money used. Will that ever happen? No, probably not. However, Americans can hold those representatives accountable at the voting booths.
Featured image via Twitter.