Four-term Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold (R., Texas) resigned from Congress Friday afternoon after staffers accused him of sexual harassment and creating a negative work environment in his office.
He had already announced that he would not seek re-election in his Texas district.
In a statement, Farenthold said that he had planned to serve the rest of his term, but said he knew “in [his] heart that it’s time for [him] to move along and look for new ways to serve.”
Politico reported that he had been considering a resignation in the face of a potential Ethics Committee investigation into his behavior.
Farenthold had settled a former aide’s sexual harassment lawsuit against him in 2014 using $84,000 in taxpayer dollars.
The former congressman denied any wrongdoing, but admitted that he “allowed a workplace culture in my office that was too permissive and decidedly unprofessional,” and that he failed to “treat people with the respect that they deserved.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee released a statement expressing hope he would pay back the $84,000.
“I thank Blake Farenthold for his service in Congress,” said NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers. “I hope Blake is true to his word and pays back the $84,000 of taxpayer money he used as a settlement. As I have said repeatedly, Congress must hold ourselves to a higher standard and regain the trust of the American people.”
“I’m confident we’ll have a Republican in this seat come November.”