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Fired Staffer Sues Farenthold, Alleging Sexually Charged Workplace

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Blake Farenthold is being accused of discussing “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” about a former staffer with one of his employees in a lawsuit that alleges the Texas Republican created a hostile work environment on Capitol Hill.  

The complaint filed on Dec. 12 in District of Columbia court by Lauren Greene, who was fired from her position as Farenthold’s communications director in July, was first reported Tuesday by the National Law Journal . Greene claims the two-term congressman 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.” Nearly a year into her 17-month stint in Farenthold’s office, Greene complained to a fellow staffer that her boss was awkward and ignored her. The staffer, identified as scheduler Emily Wilkes, allegedly disclosed that the congressman had admitted to being attracted to Greene and having sexual fantasies about her. Greene was promoted from new media director to communications director a few weeks after the conversation.  

The 10-page legal document describes a joke Farenthold allegedly cracked about Greene having semen on her skirt, and other comments designed to “gauge whether [Greene] was interested in a sexual relationship.” The complaint also alleges that Bob Hautner, who works as Farenthold’s district director and chief of staff, berated Greene.  

Kurt Bardella, a spokesman for the congressman, responded with a statement indicating Farenthold and other members of his staff plan to challenge Greene’s account.  

“As is the case with any pending legal situation, the Congressman cannot comment on the specifics of the complaint, however, it goes without saying that both the Congressman and the members of his staff who are included in this complaint have a very different view of the allegations than Ms. Greene,” the statement reads. “For the record, the Office did not and does not discriminate based on sex or any other unlawful factor.  The Congressman is eager to respond to Ms. Greene’s allegations through the appropriate legal process and is confident that once all of the facts are revealed, he will be cleared of any wrongdoing.”  

Farenthold comes from a technology background, which recently earned him some publicity for questionable domain name purchases. He’s also quite comfortable in the public spotlight, having co-hosted a radio show before coming to Congress in 2010.  


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