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Farenthold not paying for special election, says it’s not needed

Posted: 9:08 PM, May 02, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-02 22:08:16-04

Today former Congressman Blake Farenthold sent a letter to Governor Greg Abbott telling him that he will not pay for the special election to fill the now vacant District 27 Congressional seat and explains why.

It was just last week when the governor sent his own letter to Farenthold recommending to him that he pay for the special election after suddenly resigning from his position.

In his reply letter back to Abbott, Farenthold stated he didn’t believe the governor was forced to call the emergency special election to fill his term, and that he also does not believe he should pay for it.

In his letter, Farenthold states "As to the special election, under Texas law it is my understanding that you did not have to call an emergency special election or could have set one to occur simultaneously with the November general election.  With the June 30th special election, if there is a runoff, which press reports say would be in late September, the winner will only have 8 legislative days to serve each month on October, November and December."

Farenthold originally decided not to run for re-election because of accusations by some of his staff of improper behavior.

One of those staffers filed a sexual harassment suit that Farenthold settled with $84,000 in taxpayer funds.  Farenthold’s letter clarifies that the House attorneys actually made the decision to settle and that the bipartisan Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) unanimously exonerated him saying "there is not substantial reason to believe that Representative Farenthold sexually harassed or discriminated against Complainant."

Farenthold had previously promised to pay that money back, but now says his attorneys are advising him not to.

According to Farenthold, the settlement was lawful and using a federal fund set up for these situations was required.