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Speier Pushes Ryan to Force Farenthold to Repay Settlement

Farenthold pledged to pay back money used to settle sexual harassment complaint

Rep. Jackie Speier wears a pin featuring the name of sexual assault survivor Recy Taylor during a January photo-op in the Capitol’s Rayburn Room to show solidarity with men and women who are speaking out against sexual harassment and discrimination. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Jackie Speier wears a pin featuring the name of sexual assault survivor Recy Taylor during a January photo-op in the Capitol’s Rayburn Room to show solidarity with men and women who are speaking out against sexual harassment and discrimination. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Rep. Jackie Speier wants House Speaker Paul D. Ryan to force Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold to repay an $84,000 sexual harassment settlement

In a letter to Ryan last week obtained by HuffPost, the California Democrat called on Ryan to make sure Farenthold fulfilled his promise to pay back the federal government.

“I urge you to make sure that Congressman Farenthold keeps his promise to the American people and reimburses the U.S. Treasury immediately for the full amount of the settlement,” she said.

Farenthold settled the 2014 sexual harassment complaint by his former communications director in 2015 and later promised to pay the money back.

Speier’s letter criticizes Farenthold for changing his reasons for not paying back the money. First, he said he wanted to see the changes in the Congressional Accountability Act. Then, after that passed, he said his lawyer told him to wait to see how it was enacted.

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The House Ethics Committee announced and later expanded its probe into claims of harassment in Farenthold’s office.

“However this is not relevant to Congressman Farenthold’s public pronouncement that he would pay back the money for which taxpayers have already been on the hook,” she wrote.

Speier has been critical of taxpayer dollars being used to settle sexual harassment claims.

Farenthold announced in December that he would not run for re-election this year after the House Ethics Committee announced that it was setting up a subcommittee to look into allegations of sexual harassment against the Texas congressman