Ethics watchdog dismisses complaint Rep. Farenthold sexually harassed staffer
© Greg Nash

The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) is recommending that the House Ethics Committee dismiss a former staffer's claim that Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdLawmaker seeks to ban ex-members from lobbying until sexual harassment settlements repaid Former Texas lawmaker Blake Farenthold resigns from lobbying job Congress sends bill overhauling sexual harassment policy to Trump's desk MORE (R-Texas) sexually harassed and discriminated against her on the basis of gender.

In a Monday statement, the Ethics panel said it is extending its review of the matter because the allegations are also the subject of a pending lawsuit in the D.C. district court system.


Farenthold, through a spokesman, expressed confidence that the Ethics Committee would follow OCE's conclusion once the lawsuit is settled in court.

"Congressman Farenthold understands the position that House Ethics is in and is certain that once the legal nature of this situation is resolved, they will reach the same findings and conclusions that the Office of Congressional Ethics has already unanimously reached," a Farenthold spokesman said.

The lawsuit from Lauren Greene, a former communications director for Farenthold, claims that the Texas lawmaker admitted to other staffers he had sexual fantasies about her, made comments about her nipples and "regularly made comments designed to gauge whether [she] was interested in a sexual relationship."

Greene further alleged that Bob Haueter, the chief of staff, made the workplace environment "unbearable" by excluding her from senior staff meetings and subjecting her to public humiliation.

Greene was fired in July 2014 after working for Farenthold for about 18 months; she filed a lawsuit in December.