Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) announced Friday that he is resigning from Congress.
The sudden departure comes after his December announcement that he would not run for re-election, after reports found that he had used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim from a former employee. In his Friday statement, Farenthold said that while he had originally planned to finish out the current congressional term before stepping down, he had instead chosen to resign effective Friday.
Farenthold has apologized for his handling of the sexual harassment claims but has denied the veracity of the allegations. The congressman used $84,000 in taxpayer money to settle the suit, Politico reported, later promising to pay it all back. It is unclear whether Farenthold ever actually repaid the funds, but HuffPost reports that by late January he was still "waiting" for potential changes to the Congressional Accountability Act before determining how to proceed.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) will likely call for a special election to fill Farenthold's seat, The Texas Tribune reports, in order to temporarily replace Farenthold until his successor is chosen in this fall's midterm elections. Summer Meza