We’ve seen members of Congress resign for sexual misconduct, but so far Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) remains in office. According to the New York Times, his conduct is worse than the stuff that got John Conyers and Al Franken to leave town.
A peek into the inner workings of his office reveals the kind of hostile work environment, rife with sexual innuendo, that prompted Representative Jackie Speier, Democrat of California, to call Congress “the worst” place for women to work.
Throughout the Capitol, House aides have described office cultures where sexually explicit conversations are routine, pickup lines are part of daily life, hiring can be based on looks, tolerance is expected and intolerance of such behavior is career-ending. In Mr. Farenthold’s case, legal documents and interviews with former aides suggest an atmosphere in which the congressman set the tone for off-color jokes and inappropriate banter, which flourished among his underlings.
Former employees also said that Mr. Farenthold had an explosive temper and often bullied his aides, prompting a high turnover. That echoes complaints about Representative Tim Murphy, Republican of Pennsylvania and a fierce social conservative who was drummed out of office this year after revelations that he suggested his mistress have an abortion.
So far, Republicans are mostly standing by Mr. Farenthold; his backers, including Speaker Paul D. Ryan, cite a 2015 decision by the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent, nonpartisan board that cleared Mr. Farenthold of wrongdoing.
Mr. Farenthold, who turns 56 on Tuesday, has had a whiff of notoriety about him ever since he first ran for office in 2010. At the time, he was best known as a host of a conservative radio show. But during his campaign, photographs surfaced of him at a costume party, wearing duck-print pajamas and standing next to a scantily clad woman.
He won the election, ousting Representative Solomon P. Ortiz, then an incumbent Democrat who had served for more than two decades, by less than one percentage point. The Republican-controlled legislature then redrew the district lines, making the district much more conservative. He is now serving his fourth term.
In 2014, the same year in which Ms. Greene sued him, Mr. Farenthold announced that he would be giving up an internet domain name — one that describes a sexually explicit act — that he had held since 1999, when he was in the business of buying such names on speculation and selling them.
I’ve seen the guy on TV. Yes, I know it’s not fair to judge someone by their looks, but he reminds me of the guy who used to hang around the frat houses at college and make horrible comments about the women so he could appear to be cool to the other guys who drove Porsches.