WASHINGTON — Representative Blake Farenthold, a Texas Republican who settled a lurid sexual harassment claim with his former communications director for $84,000 in taxpayer money, will not run for re-election, Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday.
“I think he’s making the right decision to retire,” Mr. Ryan said, confirming that he spoke twice with Mr. Farenthold on Wednesday. “There are new stories that are very disconcerting.”
Mr. Farenthold is currently the subject of a House Ethics Committee investigation, and two other former aides have come forward, accusing him of running an office that was a hostile workplace. The aides have said Mr. Farenthold had an explosive temper, berated them repeatedly and engaged in casual sexual banter that set a tone followed by his underlings.
Mr. Farenthold becomes the fourth member of Congress in two weeks whose careers have been felled by allegations of sexual misconduct, against the backdrop of national reckoning over treatment of women in the workplace.
Representative John Conyers Jr., Democrat of Michigan, left amid claims he sexually harassed his aides. Representative Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona, was pushed out by Mr. Ryan after an aide complained that he had offered to pay $5 million to carry his child as a surrogate. And Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, will quit over accusations of forcibly kissing one woman and of groping others during photo opportunities.
Mr. Farenthold, alone among them, appeared to be a survivor. He insisted he had done nothing wrong, and promised to repay the $84,000 to the Treasury. Mr. Ryan had pointedly not called for his resignation, noting that the nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics had investigated the allegations against him, and declined to forward them to the Ethics Committee.
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