Congressman Blake Farenthold went into greater details with 3News via Skype Tuesday regarding his sexual harassment settlement with his former communications director.
He also discussed some campaign donations that were used to help pay for case litigation.
Farenthold wanted to make clear that he will be handing over a check to the government to repay the money that taxpayers spent on his 2015 settlement. He legally did nothing wrong having the settlement come from the government fund -- it was required of him by law -- but a further look into his financial disclosure report showed some other expenditures related to litigation.
When asked why he did not attempt to pay back the money before, Farenthold said he didn't know.
"You know, I don't know because I didn't think about it. I was following the Congressional Accountability House and advice of the House Employment Council pretty much to the letter," Farenthold said. "It did not occur to me at the time."
There were other transactions made around the time of the case and settlement, including a withdrawal of $2.5 million just 30 days after reaching a settlement with Lauren Green, his former communications director.
"It would have been illegal for me to make a personal payment to Lauren Greene," Farenthold said, adding that the $2.5 million was held in a trust for his children and was not used in the case.
However, he did use $120,000 in campaign money between March 5, 2015 and Dec. 27, 2016, to pay a high-power Washington D.C. law firm.
"I initially hired an attorney to represent me in this and that was that firm, and then they also represented me in the proceedings before the Office of Congressional Ethics, where I was cleared six to zero," Farenthold said, adding that his campaign donors knew what the money was used for. "I specifically reached out to many of the donors to my campaign and asked them to donate to help with that. I actually held fundraises and said, 'Hey, I need money for this.'"
Farenthold said if the government ends up turning away his $84,000 check, he will donate it to a charity preventing sexual harassment.
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