Blake Farenthold

Ethics Committee Cites ‘Recent Experience’ as Need for Sexual Harassment Overhaul
Panel suggests difficulty obtaining information from the Office of Compliance

The House Ethics Committee is urging quick passage of legislation to address sexual harassment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The 10 members of the House Ethics Committee are urging the top four congressional leaders to quickly pass anti-sexual harassment legislation to overhaul the Congressional Accountability Act, noting the House bill would provide solutions to problems the panel has encountered this year. 

In a letter dated Monday that all members signed, they cite the House bill’s provision that would require the Office of Compliance, which would be renamed the Office of Workplace Rights, to refer certain matters to the committee, providing the panel access to any records regarding investigations, hearings, decisions, settlements or claims.

Former Hill Staffers Who Were Victims of Sexual Harassment Call for Leaders to Act
Differences still being worked out between House bill passed bill in February and Senate version passed in May

Seven former Capitol Hill staffers penned a letter Thursday urging action on sexual harassment policies in Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Seven former congressional staffers who experienced sexual harassment or assault while working on Capitol Hill sent a letter to House and Senate leaders Thursday urging them to enact changes to harassment and discrimination policies. 

“We write to remind you, and every member of the 115th Congress, not only of the pain we suffered, but also of the shame and humiliation that current staffers must bear when they too are victimized by harmful and discriminatory actions from a member of Congress, a supervisor, or a colleague,” wrote the seven women.

Texas Republican Is on His Fourth Election of the Year
Take Five: New congressman Michael Cloud never left the campaign trail

Rep. Michael Cloud, R-Texas, was sworn in July 10. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

It’s been a long year for Texas Republican Rep. Michael Cloud, who joined Congress in July.

Before he could replace Blake Farenthold — who resigned from Congress amid allegations of sexual harassment — he had to fight through a primary, a primary runoff and a special election. And now the midterms are closing in. 

Report: Farenthold Tried to Steer Contract to Businessman Who Later Got Him Lucrative Job
Disgraced congressman complained of ‘f-tards’ who drove him out of office amid #metoo scandal

Former Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, continues to attract controversy months after he resigned in disgrace amid a sexual harassment scandal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Blake Farenthold, who resigned from Congress in disgrace amid a sexual harassment scandal, tried to steer a federal contract to a business owned by the chairman of a Texas port authority who donated almost $20,000 to his campaign and later gave him a job, according to a local newspaper investigation published Monday. 

The Calhoun Port Authority’s secret decision to award Farenthold that  $13,333-a-month lobbying gig shortly after his May ouster from Congress has sparked local controversy and is at the center of a lawsuit filed by The Victoria Advocate. 

Office of Congressional Ethics Sees Huge Uptick in Citizen Outreach
More than 8,000 private citizens contact office for information or requests

An investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, was halted when he resigned in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Office of Congressional Ethics saw a considerable uptick in citizen outreach in the second quarter of 2018. At the same time, three referrals were sent to the House Ethics Committee for action.

Over 8,300 private citizens contacted the Office of Congressional Ethics during the second quarter, up from 580 in the first quarter of 2018, according to the OCE’s most recent quarterly report. In the last year, citizen contacts had previously topped out at 1,450 per quarter. The contacts fall into two categories: Allegations of misconduct and requests for information about the OCE.

Lobbying Groups Join Fight Against Sexual Harassment
‘We just have not had anyone come out and report it just yet, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t or isn’t happening.’

K Street sign at 15th and K Streets in Washington, D.C. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Major advocacy and government affairs groups are joining the fight against workplace sexual harassment in Washington.

Groups announced Wednesday the formation of a task force to develop a plan to protect professionals from harassment, with the goal of creating guidelines, standards and programs to support harassment victims.

Negotiations Over Sexual Harassment Bills Continue, but No Timetable Yet
Lawmakers report progress on reconciling House, Senate approaches

House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper, R-Miss., says he and his colleagues are making progress on reconciling sexual harassment legislation from the two chambers, but a time frame for enactment is unclear. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even as lawmakers and staff work to reconcile legislation passed by the House and Senate to curb sexual harassment on Capitol Hill, a timeline for enacting the bills is unclear, months after they were fast-tracked for floor votes.

“We’re confident we are going to get there at some point. We’re not quite there,” House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper of Mississippi said.

Farenthold Spends Leftover Campaign Funds On Lawyers
Disgraced former congressman also spent on hotel, cocktail party

Former Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, has yet to pay back the $84,000 in taxpayer money he used to settle a sexual harassment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Since leaving office in April, Former Rep. Blake Farenthold has used a substantial amount of his leftover campaign money on legal expenses.

An analysis of Farenthold’s Federal Election Commission report by the Houston Chronicle found the Texas congressman spent more than $100,000 in legal fees

The Dizzying Life of Midcycle Newbies
For arrivals in the middle of a Congress, it can be tough to hit the ground running

Conor Lamb waits for Speaker Paul D. Ryan to arrive for a mock swearing-in ceremony in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In April, just a few days after being sworn in following his stunning special election win in Pennsylvania, Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb strode into the Capitol, hand clutching a coffee cup, as he made his way to the House floor for a vote. But before he could make it inside, a guard abruptly stopped him. Beverages in the chamber, she explained, are strictly forbidden. “You can go through the cloakroom,” she helpfully suggested. Lamb gave a blank stare. “It’s around the corner,” she said, pointing down the hall.

The first few days and weeks for new lawmakers can prove a disorienting adjustment, especially for winners of special elections.

Republican Michael Cloud Sworn In to House, Replacing Blake Farenthold
Newest member of the House cuts number of vacancies to six

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., conducts the mock-swearing in for Rep. Michael Cloud, R-Texas, in the Capitol on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Republican Michael Cloud took the oath of office on Tuesday, becoming the latest member of the House and bringing the whole number of the chamber to 429, comprised of 236 Republicans and 193 Democrats, with six vacancies.

A media consultant with roots in his church and local Republican Party, Cloud describes himself as a constitutional conservative.