April 6 (UPI) — Rep. Blake Farenthold announced Friday he is resigning from office months after he said he wouldn’t seek re-election over allegations of workplace abuse.
The Texas Republican said he sent a letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott saying his resignation would be effective 5 p.m. Friday.
“While I planned on serving out the remainder of my term in Congress, I know in my heart it’s time for me to move along and look for new ways to serve,” Farenthold said in a statement.
In late 2017, the House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into the congressman over harassment accusations. He said in December that he’d never served in office before being elected in 2010 and had “no idea” how to run a congressional office.
“And as a result, I allowed a workplace culture to take root in my office that was too permissive and decidedly unprofessional,” he said at the time.
Former aide Lauren Greene said Farenthold told another staffer in the office that he had “sexual fantasies” about her. Greene received $84,000 from a congressional fund to resolve workplace disputes, but she said she was blacklisted on Capitol Hill after raising her concerns.
Farenthold, who is married, has denied those accusations. He said he’s working on a loan to repay the money from the fund.
In December, he said the workplace culture he allowed “accommodated destructive gossip, offhand comments, off-color jokes and behavior that in general was less than professional.”
“And I allowed the personal stress of the job to manifest itself in angry outbursts and too often a failure to treat people with the respect they deserved. That was wrong. I’m profoundly sorry.”
When Farenthold announced his retirement from Congress in December, it opened up his seat for a runoff battle between Republicans Bech Bruun and Michael Cloud in May. But with his immediate resignation, Abbott must call a special election, the winner of which would serve through January 2019.