Earlier this month, Texas Republican congressman and duckie pajama enthusiast Blake Farenthold abruptly resigned from office, four months after it emerged that he had used $84,000 in public funds to settle a sexual harassment case with a former aide.
In 2014, Lauren Greene, Farenthold’s former communications director, sued her former boss for “gender discrimination, sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.” Last December, Politico broke the news that Farenthold had used an obscure congressional account to pay for the settlement.
Now we are learning why Farenthold resigned out of nowhere. According to HuffPost, his decision came after learning the House Ethics committee was planning to rule against him—meaning he would possibly have had to pay back the public money he spent in the settlement.
From HuffPost (emphasis mine):
By stepping down, Farenthold was able to avoid whatever punishment the committee was about to hand down. A House Ethics Committee spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It’s not clear what Farenthold’s punishment would have been. The panel might have required him to pay back the $84,000 he spent to settle a previous sexual harassment lawsuit. The Texas Republican promised in December that he would pay back that money immediately, but he never did. By quitting Congress, he has even less incentive to pay it back.
How nice it is that we live in a country where our elected officials aren’t just unabashed creeps who use their position of power to harass women; they are unabashed creeps who also use public money to pay for their wrongdoings, fleecing us all in the process. Cool stuff!