House Ethics Committee Opens New Investigation Into Rep. Farenthold Over Harassment Allegations

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The House Ethics Committee, however, said Thursday that it was probing Farenthold over the incident.

According to a release, the panel is establishing an investigative subcommittee to look into allegations that Farenthold "sexually harassed a former member of his staff, discriminated against her on the basis of her gender, and retaliated against her for complaining of discriminatory conduct", as well as allegations that Farenthold "made inappropriate statements" to other staff members.

Another Farenthold aide told Greene that the congressman said he had "sexual fantasies" and "wet dreams" about Greene, she said, and when Greene complained, she was sacked.

Farenthold, 55, has been under attack for using $84,000 in taxpayer money from the congressional Office of Compliance to settle a sexual harassment claim lodged by his former communications director, Lauren Greene, in 2014.

The new probe comes amid multiple members of Congress facing allegations of sexual misconduct, which have already led Sen. Farenthold said when the case was settled in 2015 that he didn't engage in any wrongdoing.

Despite Farenthold's decision to pay the settlement with his own money, he still has maintained that he did nothing wrong and that Greene was sacked for "poor performance".

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After details of their $84,000 taxpayer-funded settlement came to light last week, both Farenthold and Greene have called for greater public transparency in their dispute. It told the House Ethics Committee that it "did not find substantial reason to believe that Representative Farenthold engaged in the alleged conduct".

The Ethics Committee, however, has kept the case open, though not actively under investigation until now. However, a press release announcing the subcommittee's formation said the resolution of the case had been significantly delayed by difficulties in obtaining testimony from key witnesses and in accessing confidential documents the parties exchanged as the lawsuit was ongoing. In the lawsuit, Greene said her boss sexually harassed her and created a hostile work environment.

Asked about Peace's account, Farenthold's office provided a statement recounting that two unnamed women complained separately to the congressman sometime in 2016 about allegedly discriminatory treatment they received in the office, particularly from Haueter.

Two of Farenthold's colleagues, Reps.

Farenthold subsequently said he was taking out a personal loan to cover the settlement's costs.