Rep. Blake Farenthold resigns from Congress months after harassment settlement surfaced

Key Points
  • Rep. Blake Farenthold is resigning from Congress.
  • The Texas Republican previously announced he would not run for re-election after the revelation that $84,000 in taxpayer money was used to settle a harassment lawsuit against him.
  • Farenthold has denied accusations of wrongdoing.
Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas
Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

Rep. Blake Farenthold resigned abruptly Friday, months after sexual harassment allegations against the Texas Republican surfaced.

Farenthold, who has represented Texas' 27th District since 2011, said in December he would not seek re-election this year. The 56-year-old becomes only the latest member of Congress to resign in recent months following sexual misconduct allegations.

"While I planned on serving out the remainder of my term in Congress, I know in my heart it's time for me to move along and look for new ways to serve," Farenthold said in a statement Friday.

A 2014 harassment lawsuit brought by a former staff member against Farenthold was settled using $84,000 in taxpayer money. The congressman's former communications director, Lauren Greene, accused him of making sexually inappropriate comments. Other former aides have spoken to media outlets about a toxic work environment.

Farenthold pledged to pay back the $84,000 sum. It is not clear he has. His office did not immediately respond to a request to comment on whether he paid back the money.

The congressman has denied allegations of wrongdoing. In December, he said "the charges that were made are false."

At the time, he acknowledged that he "allowed a workplace culture to take root in [his] office that was too permissive and decidedly unprofessional."

The 27th District, which sits in southeastern Texas, is likely a difficult one for Democrats to flip in November, despite Farenthold's manner of leaving office. President Donald Trump won it by more than 20 percentage points in 2016.

It is unclear if a special election for his seat would take place before November. The Texas Secretary of State's office did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment on Farenthold's resignation.

Voters are set to choose the Republican and Democratic candidates for the general election in a May primary runoff.