The House Ethics Committee on Thursday announced that it will expand its investigation into Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) to examine allegations that he lied to the committee and improperly used House resources for campaign work.
In a Thursday memo, the House Ethics Committee said it was looking into allegations that Farenthold’s staff “may have used House resources, including staff time, to benefit his congressional campaigns” and that Farenthold “may have required members of his congressional staff to work on his congressional campaigns.” The committee said it will also review allegations that the congressman “may have made false statements or omissions in testimony to the Committee.”
A former aide in Farenthold’s congressional office told the Ethics Committee last week that Farenthold and his chief of staff regularly asked her to perform campaign duties, CNN reported. She said that she was never paid by the campaign or volunteered for the campaign, per CNN. House rules prohibit members from using official House resources for campaign work.
The former aide, Elizabeth Peace, told lawyers with the House committee that she was pressured to do the campaign work despite complaining that it made her uncomfortable, per the report. Peace also told the panel that Farenthold’s chief of staff once yelled at her to do campaign work, a source familiar with the discussion told CNN.
The committee is already investigating sexual harassment allegations that several former staffers have made against Farenthold. Other former employees in recent weeks have accused the congressman of creating a hostile work environment and making sexually demeaning and other abusive remarks to his aides.