The House Ethics Committee is stepping up its investigation of Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold (R) to include not only allegations that he sexually harassed a staffer, but also charges that he improperly used official resources for campaign activities and that he lied to the committee, said Politico on Thursday night.
The announcement by the ethics committee significantly ups the ante in the investigation into Farenthold’s activities, explained Politico’s John Bresnahan, because misuse of official resources is not just against House rules, it’s a federal crime.
The investigative committee says an interview with Farenthold will be part of investigating the new charges against him, but declined to say whether or not that interview has already taken place.
Farenthold paid $84,000 out of an Office of Compliance account to former staffer Lauren Greene, who sued the congressman alleging a lurid array of misbehavior, including drunken sexual harassment, improper remarks and sexualized bullying.
He announced last week that he will be retiring at the end of his current term.