Farenthold to Keep Lobbying Job After Board Deadlocks

After hiring disgraced former congressman in closed meeting, board holds public meeting to reconsider

The hiring of former Rep. Blake Farenthold as a lobbyist has divided the board of the Calhoun Port Authority in Texas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold will get to keep his job as a lobbyist for the Calhoun Port Authority after a board vote on whether to fire him ended in deadlock.

A vote by the authority’s board Thursday on whether it should fire the former Republican congressman was tied, with three members voting for the motion and three voting against it, the Victoria Advocate reported.

Board members declined to comment on the subject after the vote.

The meeting came amid questions about Farenthold’s hiring after his resignation from Congress.

Farenthold announced his hiring for the job, which pays $160,000 a year, two weeks ago. He resigned from Congress in April.

But the hiring raised questions about whether it violated Texas’ open meetings law, since it was not announced on a public agenda.

Port Lavaca resident Paul Lauterbach said he missed his daughter’s high school graduation to attend the meeting because of his outrage.

“I don’t get involved in this stuff ever, but this ... is over the top,” he told the newspaper.

“He’s radioactive. There are people in Congress that have already said they don’t want anything to do with him,” said Lauterbach, who identified himself as a Republican.

Lauterbach said he lost respect for Farenthold after the congressman reneged on a promise to pay back the federal government $84,000 in taxpayer dollars he spent to settle a sexual harassment claim.

“Why would you ever not do the right thing because your attorney told you?” he asked.

The hiring prompted the Victoria Advocate to file a lawsuit against the agency for failing to disclose the matter.

The paper’s attorney John Griffin said the goal is to send a message that the public deserves to know about these decisions.

“No one has ever explained in any meaningful way to the public how it’s in the best interest ... to hire this man for this job at $160,000 a year,” he said.

Watch: McConnell and Klobuchar High-Five After Passage of Sexual Harassment Bill

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