WASHINGTON – It was a mystery why Republican Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) abruptly resigned earlier this month.
But HuffPost has new details about what happened.
The House Ethics Commission was in the process of convicting Farenthold in the investigation of whether he was sexually molesting his staff, using official money for campaign purposes, and lied in earlier testimony to the committee, according to Deputy Jackie Speier's office (D-Calif .).
The committee gave Farenthold a head-up on his upcoming decision, so he quit Pro Speier's office. Speier, who is not a member of the committee, was one of Farendhold's biggest critics and a vociferous advocate for changing the treatment of allegations of sexual harassment in Congress.
By resigning Farenthold could have avoided any punishment of the Committee.
A spokesman for the House Ethics Committee declined to comment.
The committee issued a statement last week that its investigation into Farenthold had ended because it had resigned, but said that it had informed him on March 30 that he had planned a vote. On April 6, Farenthold resigned back.
If he had not quit, the committee would have voted to approve his document setting out the charges against Farenthold and then having a new subcommittee made a public hearing on the alleged violations.
It is not clear what Farenthold's punishment would have been if the committee had ended its trial. He may have been required to pay back the $ 84,000 tax money he had spent on settling a previous sexual harassment complaint by a former female counselor. The Texas Republican promised in December that he would repay the money immediately, but he never did. With the exit from the congress he has even less incentive to repay it.
The heads of the ethics committee made it clear last week that they still want to pay, even though he is no longer their colleague.
"We encourage him in the best possible way to keep that promise," said Reps. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) And Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), The chairman and highest-ranking member of the committee, in a joint statement [1