Blake Farenthold

Rep. Tony Cárdenas spent $148,000 fighting dropped civil lawsuit
California Democrat still has over $20,000 left that will likely go to outstanding balances

California Rep. Tony Cárdenas has spent well over $100,000 on legal expenses for a lawsuit that was dismissed. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Politicians can pay a heavy price when they’re accused of sexual misconduct — even when the case is dismissed. Just ask California Democratic Rep. Tony Cárdenas.

He racked up almost $150,000 in legal expenses defending himself against a lawsuit that alleged he sexually assaulted a minor. In July, the alleged victim agreed to have the case dismissed with prejudice, meaning that she can’t file it again. But that doesn’t wipe out those expenses, even when the case is dropped.

Where are the members of the 115th Congress that left under scandal?
Only two scandal-tarred lawmakers from last Congress are still serving

Montana Republican Ryan Zinke, who was Interior secretary until last December, is now a managing director at cybersecurity and blockchain company Artillery One. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the #MeToo movement took hold in the past two years, nine members of the 115th Congress relinquished their seats amid allegations of sexual misconduct. That’s more than any Congress since at least 1901, based on an analysis of congressional departures by FiveThirtyEight.

Two other lawmakers left under scrutiny for financial or ethical improprieties, two who joined the Trump administration were later forced to resign their Cabinet posts, and two representatives indicted last year are still in office fighting the charges.

A closer look at what the alumni of the 115th Congress have been up to
Some have moved on to other offices, consulting or punditry. Some are plotting their way back

At the end of her brief tenure last Congress as representative for Michigan’s 13th District, Rep. Brenda Jones returned to the Detroit City Council where she serves as president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One hundred and fifteen former House members and senators, who served full or partial terms in the 115th Congress, are newly adapting to life after Capitol Hill. CQ Roll Call finds them in a wide variety of roles, ranging from the expected to the unusual.

Three lawmakers from the last Congress have died, either while serving or since leaving office. Here’s what the rest of the alums have been up to. 

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s affairs with congressional staff raise sexual harassment concerns
California Republican denies groping another staffer at a 2014 event

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., allegedly entered into affairs with two congressional staffers, according to a court filing by the Department of Justice. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Party leaders have demurred on whether Rep. Duncan Hunter should resign in light of revelations that he pursued relationships with two congressional staffers, including one of his own aides.

But that does not mean allegations that the California Republican had “intimate relationships” — as U.S. attorneys described them in a recent court filing — with two staffers, including a direct subordinate, will not trigger consequences on Capitol Hill.

You have 48 hours to become a tech expert. If only this office could help
Gingrich slashed the Office of Technology Assessment. It’s time to bring it back

When Newt Gingrich wanted to cut the budget back in the 1990s, the lowest-hanging fruit was the Office of Technology Assessment, Moss writes.

OPINION — Silicon Valley loves picking on Washington, D.C., for being inept and slow. But what our friends in the Valley do not acknowledge is that while they can indulge in the “move fast and break things” mantra, when D.C. moves fast and breaks things, precedent is set and Americans suffer for generations.

This is the problem at hand: How do we ensure that our lawmakers — the ones policing Silicon Valley — do so in a measured, thoughtful way instead of crippling emerging industry giants just because Congress can’t keep up with them? As a former staffer who now works at a think tank that focuses on technology policy and capacity issues in Congress, I struggle with this question every day.

BLAKE Act targets future Blake Farentholds
Legislation is named for former congressman who reneged on repaying funds for sexual harassment settlement

The Bad Lawmakers Accountability and Key Emends Act is named for Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold might have resigned in disgrace, but he’s still making a mark on Capitol Hill.

The BLAKE Act, or the Bad Lawmakers Accountability and Key Emends Act, would bar any former member of Congress from behaving like Farenthold. Specifically, the legislation would prevent any member of Congress from cashing in on his time in office with a plum lobbying job if that member had used tax dollars to settle a sexual harassment claim and had not reimbursed federal coffers.

Blake Farenthold Leaves Lobbying Gig Amid Lawsuit Over His Hiring
Disgraced former congressman hired less than two months after resigning amid ethics probe

Former Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, has resigned from his lobbying job amid a lawsuit surrounding his hiring for it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Disgraced former Rep. Blake Farenthold has resigned from the lobbying gig he secured last May with a local port authority in Texas, as the port battles a lawsuit from a local newspaper over the ex-GOP congressman's hiring.

The Victoria Advocate first reported this story.

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.