Farenthold: I shouldn't be asked to pay for special election

Farenthold: I shouldn't be asked to pay for special election
© Greg Nash

Former Republican 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 (Texas) said he should not be forced to pay for the special election for his vacant seat, according to a letter penned to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) Wednesday.

In the letter, which was posted to his campaign website, Farenthold countered Abbott's request for him to pay the state back for allegedly using $84,000 in taxpayer dollars to settle a sexual harassment claim against him. 

"You claim in your letter I 'wrongfully' used taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment claim. That is simply not true," Farenthold wrote in reference to  Abbott's letter to him last week. 

Farenthold went on to dispute the governor's decision for a snap election to fill his seat. 


"Since I didn’t call it [the special election] and don’t think it’s necessary, I shouldn’t be asked to pay for it," he wrote, concluding that the election could have been held concurrently with November's midterm elections. 

Farenthold promised last year to repay the $84,000, but so far has not made good on his word. 

The former congressman resigned at the beginning of April, prompting the House Ethics Committee to end its investigation into his use of funds. Last week, however, the committee strongly urged Farenthold to pay back the sum.

But Farenthold's lawyers, he wrote, said paying back the money would be unethical because the lawsuit was against his office and not him personally. 

Farenthold went on to say the settlement did not affirm that he was guilty of harassment. In the letter, he wrote that he never inappropriately approached or touched anyone and that his office was just "more informal" than the offices of other congressmen. 

"As a former Attorney General, I’m sure you understand settling a lawsuit is not an admission of any wrongdoing. It certainly wasn’t an admission in my case," Farenthold wrote.