The House Ethics Committee announced Thursday that it was opening an investigation into Rep. Blake Farenthold, nearly a week after revelations that the Texas Republican paid a sexual harassment settlement with taxpayers' money.
The committee will investigate whether Farenthold sexually harassed a former member of his staff. It will also examine whether Farenthold discriminated against the former staffer based on her gender – and retaliated against her for complaining about discrimination.
The investigation will also look into allegations that Farenthold made inappropriate statements to other members of his staff.
While the committee's statement did not name her, a lawyer for Farenthold's former staffer confirmed her identity last week. Lauren Greene worked as the congressman's communications director until she was fired in July 2014. She filed a lawsuit later that year that accused Farenthold of making sexually charged statements toward her and engaging in off-color behavior.
According to Politico, Greene received an $84,000 settlement.
Back in 2015, the Office of Congressional Ethics investigated Greene's allegations. It told the House Ethics Committee that it "did not find substantial reason to believe that Representative Farenthold engaged in the alleged conduct."
According to reports, Greene has agreed to an interview with the House Ethics Committee about the allegations.
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