Congressman Blake Farenthold resigns months after sexual harassment settlement revelation via Caller Times

Embattled Congressman Blake Farenthold resigned from office Friday afternoon saying it was time "to move along and look for new ways to serve."

“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," according to a statement from Farenthold.

"Therefore, I sent a letter to Governor Greg Abbott today resigning from the House of Representatives effective at 5:00 p.m. today, April 6, 2018."

Farenthold, a political nephyte at the times, rode the tea party wave that toppled the Democratic majority in the U.S. House in 2010. Before that, he was a little-known Corpus Christi business owner and a sidekick on a local talk radio show. But after emerging from a crowded Republican primary field, he was able to upset Congressman Solomon Ortiz, one of the most entrenched Texas Democrats in Washington who had represented the district since 1983.

Still, the scandal that would drive Farenthold into early retirement was foreshadowed on that 2010 campaign. Photographs emerged of him wearing duck-embroidered pajamas in the company of two suggestively dressed women were widely circulated during the campaign. The pictures, taken at a costume-party charity event, went viral on the internet and were the subject of satire blog called Farenthold managed to withstand the dust up and narrowly defeated Ortiz in one of the closest congressional races of the cycle.

Farenthold's current troubles began after he won his third term in 2014 when his former communications director Lauren Greene filed a federal lawsuit accusing him of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and allowing a hostile work environment take root in his congressional office.

Greene also complained that Farenthold had openly confessed having risque fantasies and even "wet dreams" about her. Farenthold denied the claims, attributing them to the acts of an employee he had let go for sub-par work performance.

U.S. Congressman Blake Farenthold (right) was photographed next to a model in lingerie and wearing duck pajamas during a Clear Channel Radio Christmas Pajama Party in 2009. After Farenthold was elected to Congress in 2010 the photo circulated on social media and went viral. 

(Photo: Contributed/Tony Martinez)

Even though the lawsuit was settled through a then-secret agreement, the Office of Congressional Ethics cleared him of wrongdoing and Farenthold was again comfortably re-elected in 2016.

But by the latter half of 2017, public attitudes about the sexual behavior of men in power began to shift. What started as backlash against reports of sexual harassment and intimidation by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein began creeping into the worlds of business, media and politics.

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