OCE Report Regarding Rep. Blake Flarenthold
On June 29, 2015, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Rep. Blake Farenthold.
Nature of the Review
In December 2014, a former communications director for Representative Blake Farenthold (hereafter, “Complainant”) filed suit against Representative Farenthold’s congressional office in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that Representative Farenthold sexually harassed and discriminated against her during the course of her employment in his congressional office. Complainant also alleged that after she raised concerns about such conduct directly to Representative Farenthold, her work environment was rendered “unbearable” and her employment was terminated. If Representative Farenthold sexually harassed or discriminated against Complainant, or engaged in an effort to intimidate, take reprisal against, or otherwise discriminate against Complainant for opposing such treatment, then he may have violated House rules and federal law.
The Board recommended that the Committee on Ethics dismiss the above allegations concerning Representative Farenthold, as there is not substantial reason to believe that Representative Farenthold sexually harassed or discriminated against Complainant, or engaged in an effort to intimidate, take reprisal against, or discriminate against Complainant for opposing such treatment, in violation of House rules and federal law.
On September 28, 2015, the Committee on Ethics released a statement indicating it would continue to gather information necessary to complete its review. The Committee published the OCE report and announced the allegations would be further reviewed pursuant to Commitee Rule 17(a).
On December 7, 2017, the Committee on Ethics released a statement announcing it unanimously voted to establish an Investigative Subcommitte (ISC) pursuant to House Rule XI, clause 3 and Committee Rules 10(a)(2) and 18.
On December 21, 2017, the Committee on Ethics announced it would expand the jurisdiction of the ISC's inquiry regarding Rep. Blake Farenthold, pursuant to House Rule XI, clause 3(O)(2).
On April 12, 2018, the Committee on Ethics released a statement announcing that because Rep. Blake Farenthold resigned from Congress, the ISC no longer has jurisdiction over him. The Committee noted that Rep. Farenthold publicly promised to reimburse the U.S. Treasury for the $84,000 in funds paid to settle the lawsuit brought against him for claims of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation.