Texas Republican Williams Backs Farenthold Challenger Amid More Accusations

Former staffer details fits of rage, discussion of oral sex, and obscene language to insult staff

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, is seen Wednesday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Justice Department’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As more accusations that Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold sexually harassed staffers emerged, a primary challenger says he has the endorsement of Farenthold’s fellow GOP Rep. Roger Williams

Former Texas Water Development Board Chairman Bech Bruun announced Williams’ support in a news release, the Texas Tribune reported.

“At a time when the Coastal Bend faces serious challenges in the on-going recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey, Congressional District 27 needs effective leadership now more than ever,” Williams said in the release.

The endorsement comes as CNN published the account of Farenthold’s former communications director saying the Texas Republican verbally harassed multiple women.

Michael Rekola, who served in the position in 2015, said hearing Farenthold make sexually graphic jokes and berating aides led him to seek counseling and said he vomited daily while working for him.

Rekola said Farenthold was subject to fits of rage, slamming fists on desks and using obscene language to insult staff.

Elizabeth Peace, one of Rekola’s coworkers, confirmed to CNN a story that Farenthold suggested Rekola's fiancee perform oral sex before their wedding.

Farenthold denied making the remarks. The House Ethics Committee is currently investigating allegations of sexual harassment by Farenthold's previous communications director Lauren Greene. 

Earlier this month, Politico revealed Greene was paid $84,000 by taxpayers in a settlement after accusing Farenthold of sexually harassing her.

On Wednesday, Farenthold took questions from constituents via Skype and pushed back against calls to resign, the Victoria Advocate reported.

“There’s no reason to resign when I haven’t done anything wrong,” he said.

Farenthold also said he is trying to get a loan to pay back taxpayers and said the Congressional Accountability Act barred him from being able to pay out of his own pocket.

“We’re not even sure how to give it back. I think what it’s going to end up being, the payback mechanism, is me making a donation to the government,” he said.

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