Tags: blake farenthold | sexual harassment | claims | house | probe

House Office Quietly Investigated Complaint Against Farenthold

Image: House Office Quietly Investigated Complaint Against Farenthold
(AP)

By    |   Friday, 15 December 2017 10:00 AM

The Office of House Employment Counsel (OHEC) last year quietly used taxpayer funds to investigate a sexual harassment claim against outgoing Texas Congressman Blake Farenthold but didn't release its findings, Politico reported.

The OHEC, which operates under the House clerk's office, is in the crosshairs of Congress for its role in quietly helping offending lawmakers make complaints against them go away without any transparency or support for the accusers, Politico reports.

And, the OHEC cites attorney-client privilege in its defense of not releasing its findings or payouts to accusers, Politico reported.

"As needed, OHEC may arrange for an independent firm to conduct investigations of an office so that a determination can be made whether there is a need for the office to take appropriate corrective actions," an OHEC spokesperson told Politico.

What is known is that Treasury Department has doled out nearly $1 million this year alone to settle claims with Capitol Hill employees, and $17 million since 1997.

The breakdown of the payouts isn't known, but an OHEC official testified last week that most claims are retaliation-based and that sexual harassment claims are among the fewest reported.

But that's not appeasing watchdogs in the case of Farenthold.

"It's extremely troubling that there's all these different ways of avoiding even minimal oversight," Emily Martin, general counsel at the National Women's Law Center, told Politico.

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The Office of House Employment Counsel (OHEC) last year quietly used taxpayer funds to investigate a sexual harassment claim against outgoing Texas Congressman Blake Farenthold but didn't release its findings, Politico reported.
blake farenthold, sexual harassment, claims, house, probe
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2017-00-15
Friday, 15 December 2017 10:00 AM
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