Congressman Paid $84,000 To Settle Lawsuit Over ‘Wet Dreams’ Comments

Thomas Phippen | Reporter

Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold settled a sexual harassment lawsuit in 2014 with $84,000 of taxpayer money after a staffer complained about a hostile work environment, sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

The lawsuit, brought by former Farenthold spokeswoman Lauren Greene, alleged that Farenthold’s office was a hostile work environment filled with lewd comments about sex, Politico reports.

Greene’s complaint alleges that another Farenthold aide that Farenthold would talk about his “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” about Greene. Farenthold himself had a “tendency to flirt,” Greene alleges.

“Farenthold regularly drank to excess, and because of his tendency to flirt, the staffers who accompanied him to Capitol Hill functions would joke that they had to be on ‘red head patrol to keep him out of trouble,'” Greene claimed in her lawsuit. “On one occasion, prior to February 2014, during a staff meeting at which [Greene] was in attendance, Farenthold disclosed that a female lobbyist had propositioned him for a ‘threesome.'” (RELATED: HOT MIC: Senator Says Collins ‘Could Beat The Sh**’ Out Of Farenthold)

Greene’s complaint also said that Farenthold made a comment about her breasts after the lawmaker’s chief of staff Bob Haueter complained about her attire. “On June 10, 2014, in response to Haueter’s complaint about [Greene’s] shirt…which Haueter claimed was transparent and showed [Greene’s] nipples, Farenthold told [another woman staffer] that [Greene] could show her nipples whenever she wanted to,” the compliant obtained by Politico said.

When she complained about Farenthold and Haueter, Greene says the congressman fired her without cause. She filed a lawsuit with the Department of Justice, but they dropped the case when Greene and the Office of Compliance reached a settlement of $84,000.

Farenthold and Haueter denied the allegations, and were unable to comment on the settlement due to the agreement. Haueter “disagrees strongly with the Plaintiff’s allegations in the Complaint, and Congressman Farenthold adamantly denies that he engaged in any wrongdoing,” Farenthold’s office wrote in a statement, shared with The Daily Caller News Foundation, at the time the settlement was reached.

The statement also that while the office denied the allegations, it settled the case to avoid expensive court costs. After it “became clear that further litigating this case would come at great expense to all involved – including the taxpayers – the parties engaged in mediation with a court-appointed mediator,” the statement read.

“While I 100 percent support more transparency with respect to claims against members of Congress, I can neither confirm nor deny that settlement involved my office as the Congressional Accountability Act prohibits me from answering that question,” Farenthold told Politico in a statement.

After reviewing the allegations, the Office of Congressional Ethics determined there was no “substantial reason to believe” the accusations.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Greene accused Bob Haueter of sexual harassment.  

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