Thus far, a grand total of one Republican in the House of Representatives has called for the resignation of Rep. Blake Farenthold, who was sued in 2014 by his former communications director for gender discrimination, sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment—and was recently reported to have settled the case using congressional funds.
Lauren Greene, who alleges that she was fired after complaining about being sexually harassed by Rep. Farenthold and aide Bob Haueter, says she has struggled to find permanent employment in the three years since the case settled.
“I was told right away that I would be, quote-unquote, ‘blackballed’ if I came forward. … That’s exactly what happened,” Greene said, according to Politico. She left DC and now makes $15 an hour. From Politico:
Longtime Hill friends of Greene’s told her even before she accused Farenthold that if she came forward, she would never work in Washington again. While Greene was optimistic at first about finding a new job in D.C., she said she noticed a shift in how people treated her. She decided to move south to Charleston, South Carolina, after a few months.
But putting 500 miles between her and the Beltway didn’t erase the stigma. Over the past three years, Greene said she’s applied to dozens, if not more than a hundred, jobs in communications to no avail. One person told her that she didn’t get one job because of her harassment claims against a congressman.
In recent days, high-ranking House Democrat John Conyers was pushed to resign by party leadership, and on Wednesday a cascade of Democratic senators called on Sen. Al Franken to step down; Franken is expected to make an announcement tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) has called on Farenthold to step down and to pay back taxpayers (the latter of which Farenthold has agreed to) but that’s... about... it. When asked, Speaker Paul Ryan’s spokeswoman said that “any report of sexual harassment is deeply troubling,” but: “In this instance, the independent Office of Congressional Ethics investigated this claim and unanimously voted to dismiss it.”
“Still, there are important questions to answer, including the use of taxpayer dollars for settlements. We will continue our efforts to reform this settlement system.”
This is a very on-brand, if disappointing, statement from a party that recently re-endorsed an accused child molester after it started looking like he might win. On second thought, this guy seems like a pretty good fit.