Former Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, should "cover all the costs" of the special election to fill the seat he vacated after resigning over harassment and discrimination allegations, Texas Gov. Greg Abbot, a Republican, wrote in an open letter.
Farenthold stepped down earlier this month during an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination related to a lawsuit with a former staffer, which was settled using taxpayer funds.
"On behalf of voters in the 27th Congressional District and as Governor of the State of Texas, I am writing to demand that you cover all costs for the called special election to fill the seat now vacated following your resignation," Abbott wrote to Farenthold in an open letter sent Wednesday.
"While you have publicly offered to reimburse the $84,000 in taxpayer funds you wrongly used to settle a sexual harassment claim, there is no legal recourse requiring you to give that money back to Congress," he continued. "I am urging you to give those funds back to the counties in your district to cover the costs of the June 30, 2018, special election."
Farenthold, who practiced law in Corpus Christi and co-hosted a conservative talk radio show prior to his first election to Congress in 2010, was estimated to have a net worth of just over $5.5 million in 2015, according to OpenSecrets.
He has yet to pay back the money used to settle the lawsuit from his former staffer.
"All counties contained within this district continue to be under the state disaster declaration related to the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, making it imperative that we fill this vacancy as soon as possible," the governor wrote.
"Hurricane relief efforts depend heavily on action at the federal level, which can only occur if Texans residing in disaster zones have full and effective representation in Congress," Abbott added.
"This seat must be filled, and the counties and taxpayers in the 27th Congressional District should not again pay the price for your actions."
The governor ended his letter with a request for Farenthold to respond by May 2.
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