Texas Congressman Accused of Sexual Harassment Won't Seek Reelection

Texas Congressman Accused of Sexual Harassment Won't Seek Reelection

Blake Farenthold is facing an ethics investigation amid multiple accusations of misconduct from former aides.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who met with the lawmaker twice late Wednesday, said Thursday morning that Farenthold "is making the right decision to retire".

"Quite simply, my constituents deserve better", he said, describing allegations against him as a "political distraction" and noting that overseeing an "unprofessional work environment is not a crime".

"I allowed a workplace culture to take root in my office that was too permissive and decidedly unprofessional".

"I don't think he thinks he's done anything wrong, but the fact is, someone was paid off", Love said. "That's not why I came to Congress", Farenthold said in a video on his campaign's Facebook page. Two of his former aides, Lauren Greene and Michael Rekola, have spoken publicly, alleging that Farenthold engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior.

Rekola also told CNN that in July 2015, just before he was about to get married, Farenthold made lewd comments about his fiancee and joked about whether she could wear white on her wedding day, a reference, the former staffer took to be about premarital sex.

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"While I 100 percent support more transparency with respect to claims against members of Congress, I can neither confirm nor deny that settlement involved my office as the Congressional Accountability Act prohibits me from answering that question", he said in a statement.

The current wave of allegations and confirmations of sexual misconduct among powerful men across all walks of life in the US has included Capitol Hill.

Farenthold has denied all of the allegations against him.

The Texas Republican appeared determined to weather the storm, but the allegations kept coming.

Farenthold joins a list that includes Republican congressman Trent Franks, Democratic Senator Al Franken and Democratic congressman John Conyers as men who won't serve on Capitol Hill in the new year as a result. ABC News has not independently confirmed the AP report.

The primary race to replace Farenthold in Texas' 27th Congressional District is already well underway. His name could be removed from the ballot if there is a challenge to the candidate application before the mail-in ballots go out.