The House Ethics Committee announced Thursday that it will be expanding its investigation into Rep. Blake Farenthold’s (R-TX) alleged sexual misconduct to include new allegations that he improperly used resources for campaign activities and that he lied to the panel.
The committee voted unanimously to expand their inquiry to include “allegations that Representative Farenthold’s congressional staff may have used House resources, including staff time, to benefit his congressional campaigns,” and “allegations that Representative Farenthold may have made false statements or omissions in testimony to the Committee.”
The Committee announced their initial investigation into Farenthold earlier this month after he used taxpayer dollars in a settlement with Lauren Greene, his former communications director. Greene alleged in a 2014 federal lawsuit that she was sexually harassed and fired after complaining of a hostile work environment.
Farenthold used $84,000 in taxpayer funds to settle the complaint. He is the only known sitting member of Congress to take advantage of a little-known congressional account which covers harassment and discrimination lawsuits.
He recently said he would repay the funds and announced that he will be retiring at the end of his term which continues until January 2019.
Three lawmakers, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), and Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), have stepped down recently after allegations of improper conduct surfaced against them. Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV) is currently undergoing an Ethics Committee investigation over allegations of sexual misconduct.