Just one month after leaving Congress after sexual assault allegations, Republican Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) is back lobbying his former colleagues.
He just accepted a new job as a “legislative liaison” for the Calhoun Port Authority. It will pay him a grand total of $160,000. When he was a Congressman he was making a little under $174,000 a year – so he received a small pay cut.
Farenthold told ABC News that even with his new job he had no intention of repaying the $84,000 sexual harassment settlement that was funded by taxpayers while he was still in office.
When Farenthold announced his resignation back on April 6, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he “fully expected” him to repay the settlement to the U.S. Treasury, but Farenthold said that he doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t.
That’s not what he said initially, though. When the lawsuit was first settled with taxpayer money Farenthold promised to pay it back. Reps. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., and Ted Deutch, D-Fla., reminded him of this.
“We note Representative Farenthold publicly promised to reimburse the U.S. Treasury for $84,000 in funds paid to settle the lawsuit brought against him,” Brooks and Deutch said in a statement April 12. “We encourage him in the strongest possible terms to uphold that promise.”
Normally, members of Congress are prohibited from lobbying on Capitol Hill for one year after leaving office but Farenthold found a loophole in the system by representing a government agency.
The Calhoun Port Authority released this statement regarding his employment:
“Blake has always been a strong supporter of the Calhoun Port Authority and is familiar with the issues facing the Port,” the statement reads. “The Board looks forward to the services Blake can provide in assisting the Port with matters in Washington, D.C.”
Farenthold told the radio radio station KKTX that the new job will cause him to take about a 90-minute drive from his hometown in Corpus Christi.
If former Congressman would just keep his word, he could pay back the $84,000 and still have $76,000 left of his salary. Yet, he doesn’t want to do that.