The Latest: Speaker says retiring lawmaker made right call

AP News
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Posted: Dec 14, 2017 11:52 AM
The Latest: Speaker says retiring lawmaker made right call

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Texas GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold (all times local):

11:50 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold has "made the right decision" to retire at the end of his term amid allegations of sexual harassment.

Ryan told journalists Thursday that he's spoken to the four-term Texas lawmaker, who said in a Facebook video: "I am announcing my decision not to run for re-election."

The accusations against Farenthold first surfaced in 2014, when a former aide sued him over sexually suggestive comments and behavior and said she'd been fired after she complained. The lawmaker said he engaged in no wrongdoing and the case was settled in 2015.

But the House Ethics Committee said last week that it would investigate Farenthold after congressional sources said he'd paid an $84,000 settlement using taxpayers' money.

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11:03 a.m.

Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold won't seek re-election next year, two Republicans said Thursday, adding his name to the list of lawmakers leaving Congress amid sexual harassment allegations that have cost powerful men their jobs in politics, the arts and other businesses.

The accusations against Farenthold first surfaced in 2014, when a former aide sued him over sexually suggestive comments and behavior and said she'd been fired after she complained. The lawmaker said he engaged in no wrongdoing and the case was settled in 2015.

But the House Ethics Committee said last week that it would investigate Farenthold after congressional sources said he'd paid an $84,000 settlement using taxpayers' money. Though Farenthold said he'd reimburse the Treasury Department, such payments have drawn public criticism from people saying lawmakers should use their own money for such settlements.