Ethics Committee establishes subpanel to probe Texas rep after harassment claims
© Greg Nash

The House Ethics Committee will impanel an investigative subcommittee to look into allegations of sexual harassment against Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdThe biggest political upsets of the decade Members spar over sexual harassment training deadline Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations MORE (R-Texas), the committee announced Thursday. 

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

The committee said it established the subcommittee by a unanimous vote, which will seek to determine whether Farenthold's actions violated the House's official code of conduct. 


Farenthold has not admitted to any wrongdoing, but said he would reimburse taxpayers for the legal costs. 

The committee clarified that its impaneling of a subcommittee to investigate the matter does not mean that Farenthold is guilty of any violation.  

While the committee had interviewed several witnesses in its initial investigation after the lawsuit, the resolution of the issue has been "significantly delayed by difficulties in obtaining live testimony from key witnesses other than Representative Farenthold and in accessing confidential documents" from prior litigation on the issue. 
Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierSenator-jurors who may not be impartial? Remove them for cause Poll: 69 percent of Americans say they are watching impeachment closely The Hill's Morning Report — Impeachment face-off; Dems go after Buttigieg in debate MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial Overnight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 MORE (D-N.Y.) have pushed for revisions to the rules protecting confidentiality in sexual harassment complaints in Congress, which has kept the Farenthold under wraps until recently.