Blake Farenthold has a new job as legislative liaison
Former Congressman Blake Farenthold has a new job. After resigning as the representative for District 27 on April 6, seven months before his fourth term expired, the beleaguered official began work Monday, May 14, at the Calhoun Port Authority in Port Lavaca as a legislative liaison. His annual salary is $160,000. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Farenthold made $174,000 a year.
After the announcement of his new position, Farenthold also made it clear he would not be reimbursing the U.S. government the $84,000 from a sexual harassment settlement in 2014 made on his behalf to a former staffer.
In an attempt to save his seat in Congress after the news of the settlement broke last December, Farenthold pledged to repay the money. Further revelations about a hostile work environment in the congressman’s D.C. office led to him dropping his bid for re-election to what would have been his fifth term in office.
Farenthold eventually resigned on April 6 when the House Ethics Committee concluded its two investigations against him, announcing it would not be ruling in his favor. Committee members also called on Farenthold to repay the money.
Once the congressman resigned, the investigations were dropped as the committee no longer had jurisdiction. The second investigation dealt with charges that staffers were forced to work on his re-election campaigns, which is illegal.
Farenthold told reporters this week that his attorney advised him not to reimburse the government for the settlement payment
“That’s why it hasn’t been repaid,” he said in a TV interview May 15.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called for a special election on June 30 to fill the position until January, when the winner of the Nov. 6 mid-term election will be seated. Abbott also demanded the former congressman foot the bill for the election, which is being held in each of the 13 counties in District 27. District boundaries stretch from Corpus Christi in the Coastal Bend to Bastrop in Central Texas.
The district is as beleaguered as its former representative. The U.S. Supreme is expected to rule this summer on whether the district’s boundaries violate the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. A lower federal court has already ruled that District 27, along with Texas House District 32 currently held by Todd Hunter, should be redrawn.
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