CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII TV) - A report released Friday showed that taxpayer dollars were used to pay a settlement in a sexual harassment case made against Congressman Blake Farenthold, who represents the Coastal Bend area.
Back in 2014, Rep. Blake Farenthold was accused of making sexually charged statements to his communications director at the time, Lauren Greene, who had just been fired. An $84,000 settlement was reached between the two the following year. By law, Farenthold is required to pay that off from the taxpayer fund.
More than $17 million worth of payments have been made over the past 20 years for workplace disputes from that fund, but it's unknown how much of that has been for sexual harassment claims.
Corpus Christi residents who have lived through Farenthold's time in office said they are disappointed a fund like this exists and are calling for their money to go elsewhere.
"Put the funds to good use," Xzavyur Calkusic said. "to children to something to schools."
Nueces County democratic party chair Jennifer Ellis is concerned.
"Taxpayer money should never be a funding agent for the congressman to hide behind," Ellis said. "That's not justice, that's not accountability, that's disgusting."
Ellis' counterpart, Republican party chair Michael Bergsma believes the system is flawed.
"I don't like how the money goes to settling these cases. it needs to be changed," Bergsma said
Voters hope that Farentfold's action will create change, but they are not holding their breath.
"Even if I had a thought of them to get rid of it, the truth is it's probably not gonna happen," Dora Wilburn said.
The case is still in an open investigation in the House Ethics Committee.
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