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GOP lawmaker says he'll repay cost of harassment settlement

GOP lawmaker says he'll repay cost of harassment settlement
© Greg Nash

Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdFormer aides alleging sexual harassment on Capitol Hill urge congressional action AP Analysis: 25 state lawmakers running in 2018 have been accused of sexual misconduct Ex-lawmakers see tough job market with trade groups MORE (R-Texas) said Monday he intends to reimburse taxpayers for the $84,000 spent settling a sexual harassment suit filed by his former communications director. 

“I’m going to hand a check over this week to probably Speaker Ryan, or somebody, and say ‘look, here’s the amount of my settlement, give it back to the taxpayers,’ ” Farenthold told the Corpus Christi, Texas, NBC affiliate.

Lauren Greene sued Farenthold in December 2014, alleging that he fostered a hostile work environment involving sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

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That suit was settled using taxpayer funds, but the sum involved was not disclosed until last week, as multiple lawmakers are facing accusations of past sexual misconduct.

“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 Monday. "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.' "

In addition to Farenthold, multiple women have accused Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenMeet the man poised to battle Dems from the White House Minnesota GOP Senate candidate compared Michelle Obama to a chimp in Facebook post Former campaign aide to New Jersey governor says she was sexually assaulted by his ex-staffer MORE (D-Minn.) of groping them without consent during photo ops. 

Rep. Joe BartonJoe Linus BartonConservatives blame McCarthy for Twitter getting before favorable committee Worst-case scenario for House GOP is 70-seat wipeout Latina Leaders to Watch 2018 MORE (R), the longest-serving current member of Texas's delegation, announced last week he would not seek reelection after a nude photo and sexually explicit text messages he shared with a woman other than his wife leaked to the public.

And Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersFormer campaign aide to New Jersey governor says she was sexually assaulted by his ex-staffer Kavanaugh controversy has led to politicization of 'Me Too,' says analyst Sexual assault is not a game — stop using women to score political points MORE Jr. (D-Mich.) is under growing pressure from lawmakers to step down in the wake of allegations from former staffers against him. 

Conyers has denied allegations he made unwanted sexual advances to staffers, but acknowledged that he reached a $27,000 settlement in 2015, which was also funded by taxpayers.

Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierFemale House Dems urge Senate to delay Kavanaugh testimony for FBI investigation Election Countdown: Kavanaugh allegations put GOP in tough spot | Republicans start to pull plug on candidates | Dems get early start in Iowa | O'Rourke defends Cruz after protesters interrupt dinner | Why Biden is the Democrat GOP most fears Dems see Kavanaugh saga as playing to their advantage MORE (D-Calif.) said last month that the House has paid out roughly $15 million in harassment settlements over more than a decade, though that number applies to all complaints, not just those involving sexual harassment.