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Ex-staffer: GOP lawmaker’s staff joked they had to act as ‘redhead patrol’ to ‘keep him out of trouble’

Ex-staffer: GOP lawmaker’s staff joked they had to act as ‘redhead patrol’ to ‘keep him out of trouble’
© Greg Nash

A former staffer for Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdHouse passes landmark bill to overhaul sexual harassment policy on Capitol Hill House to vote on sexual harassment overhaul this week This week: Congress races to prevent another shutdown MORE said the lawmaker's staffers joked that they had to serve as "redhead patrol" at Capitol Hill functions to keep the Texas Republican out of trouble.

In a 2014 complaint, Lauren Greene, a former communications director for Farenthold, said he "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 ‘redhead patrol’ to keep him out of trouble," according to The New York Times.

In response to the claim, lawyers for Farenthold said "some staff occasionally joked that Rep. Farenthold finds redheads attractive.”

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The lawyers added, "the implication that this was a source for, or cause of, concern for any staffer" was not accurate.

Farenthold is facing scrutiny over his use of taxpayer funds to settle a 2014 lawsuit with Greene, who claims the Texas Republican sexually harassed her and fostered an overall hostile work environment.

The $84,000 settlement was made out of court and was paid using taxpayer funds. Farenthold admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement but has said he would reimburse taxpayers for the legal costs.

“I want to be clear that I didn’t do anything wrong, but I also don’t want the taxpayers to be on the hook for this," Farenthold said last week. "And I want to be able to talk about it and fix the system without people saying, ‘Blake, you benefited from the system, you don’t have a right to talk about it or fix it.' "

The House Ethics Committee last week said it would impanel an investigative subcommittee to look into allegations of sexual harassment against Farenthold.