Ex-staffer: Working in Farenthold’s office ’emotionally damaging’
A former staffer in Rep. Blake Farenthold’s (R-Texas) office describes the work environment there as “emotionally damaging,” and said she believes the account of another ex-aide who alleged that the congressman sexually harassed her.
“He allowed the hostility in his office to continue. He allowed us to work in a place that was just emotionally damaging, and that should never be allowed in any office,” Elizabeth Peace, who worked in Farenthold’s office for two years, told the Houston Chronicle in an interview published the same day the House Ethics Committee announced a probe of the allegations against him.
“While he didn’t sexually harass me, his comments were inappropriate and his unwillingness to immediately take action to allow us to work in a safe environment is inappropriate.”
Farenthold has come under scrutiny following revelations that in 2015 he settled a suit brought by a former staffer, Lauren Greene, who alleged that he had harassed her and fired her after she complained about it.
Greene also says the Texas lawmaker fostered a hostile work environment.
The $84,000 settlement was made out of court, and was paid out using taxpayer funds. Farenthold admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement.
The Ethics panel voted unanimously on Thursday to investigate the claims against Farenthold.
Multiple men in politics, business, media and beyond have faced allegations of sexual misconduct in recent months, sparking a national conversation about harassment and other forms of misbehavior.
Allegations against members of Congress have come under particular scrutiny in recent weeks, prompting a push to crack down on sexual misconduct, as well as multiple resignations.
This week alone, Reps. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich) and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) have all announced that they are leaving office after women have come forward with claims against them.