WASHINGTON – The House Ethics Committee said Monday it is continuing an investigation of Republican congressman Blake Farenthold of Texas, despite a recommendation by an investigative panel that the complaint be dismissed.
The independent Office of Congressional Ethics said it did not find substantial reason to believe that Farenthold sexually harassed a former staff member who was later fired.
Former communications director Lauren Greene alleged in a lawsuit last year that Farenthold made sexually suggestive comments to her and fired her soon after she complained about being "bullied" by the congressman's chief of staff.
The Ethics Committee said Monday that Greene's allegations are the subject of a pending lawsuit that prevents the panel from completing its review or dismissing the matter at this time. The continuation of the review does not indicate that any violation has occurred, and it doesn't reflect any judgment by the committee, Ethics Chairman Charles Dent, R-Pa., and Rep. Linda Sanchez of Californian, the panel's senior Democrat, said in a joint statement.
A spokesman for Farenthold said Monday that the congressman "understands the position that House Ethics is in," adding that Farenthold "is certain that once the legal nature of this situation is resolved," the ethics panel members "will reach the same findings and conclusions that the Office of Congressional Ethics has already unanimously reached."