Rep. Farenthold to retire after finishing his term, following sex harassment scandal

Blake Farenthold
FILE - In this March 19, 2013 file photo, Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. The House Ethics Committee says it is continuing an investigation of Farenthold, despite a recommendation by an investigative panel that the complaint be dismissed. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

WASHINGTON (KXAN/KRIS/AP) — Amid sexual harassment allegations and a House Ethics Committee investigation, Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, says he will retire at the end of his term, which expires in 2019.

Nueces County Republican Party Chair Mike Bergsma told NBC affiliate KRIS that Farenthold would not seek re-election. However, since he did not withdraw before Tuesday, his name will still appear on ballots in Texas.

The committee is investigating whether Farenthold sexually harassed a former member of his staff and retaliated against her for complaining. The committee also will review allegations that Farenthold made inappropriate statements to other members of his official staff.

Lauren Greene is a former communications director in the congressman’s office. She alleged in a 2014 federal lawsuit that she was sexually harassed and fired soon after complaining of a hostile work environment. NBC confirms Farenthold used money from the U.S. Congressional Office of Compliance to pay Greene $84,000 in taxpayer funds to settle.

Farenthold says he is “confident this matter will once and for all be settled and resolved.”

Farenthold’s district spans from Corpus Christi to Bastrop County and Caldwell County.

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