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House Ethics Committee expands investigation into U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold


By Abby Livingston

U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold may have announced his retirement last week amid a cloud of sexual harassment allegations, but the U.S. House Ethics Committee is not letting up on him. 

Just as members rushed out of the chamber to head home for the holidays, the committee released a letter stating its investigation into sexual harassment accusations against Farenthold will expand into several new fronts. 

Earlier this month, the committee voted unanimously to establish a subcommittee to investigate allegations that Farenthold sexually harassed a subordinate several years ago.

On Thursday, the committee announced it would also investigate whether Farenthold or anyone acting on his behalf, retaliated toward "any member of his congressional staff;" whether his Congressional staff used official resources – including official time – toward his re-election; whether Farenthold required official staffers to work on his re-election campaign; and whether Farenthold may have made false statements or omissions in his testimony to the Committee." 

The letter further stated "that the mere fact of an investigation into these allegations does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred." 

Farenthold, a Corpus Christi Republican, announced his retirement last week.

In a statement Thursday night, Farenthold's office said the congressman had "cooperated fully with both the Office of Congressional Ethics and the House Ethics Committee for almost three years" and noted that the office had previously unanimously found the charges against him to be unsubstantiated.

"He looks forward to this issue being resolved in his favor, once again, and will continue to cooperate fully with the Ethics Committee," the statement read.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune

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