Report: GOP congressman used public funds to settle claim

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 25: Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) wearing 3D glasses while watching a demonstration of 3D technology on Capitol Hill July 25, 2013 (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) 

WASHINGTON (AP) - A report says Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim brought by his former spokesman.

Lauren Greene is a former communications director in the congressman's office. She alleged in a 2014 federal lawsuit that she was sexually harassed and fired soon after complaining of a hostile work environment. Farenthold said when the case was settled in 2015 he didn't engage in any wrongdoing.

Politico reported Friday that Farenthold used taxpayer dollars to settle the claim.

His office released a statement saying he can't confirm or deny using a little-known congressional account to settle a sexual harassment claim. He says the Congressional Accountability Act prohibits him from answering the question.

Farenthold is now serving his fourth term in the House.