Blake Farenthold, a Republican Representative from the USA state of Texas, resigned Friday after facing an ethics investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct.
The House Ethics Committee announced past year that it would be investigating Farenthold's use of taxpayer funds to settle his sexual harassment suit, but the findings of that inquiry have not yet been released.
Farenthold had already announced he wouldn't seek re-election and had pledged to pay back the $84,000 he used to settle the claim, but he had hedged on that promise as of late, according to CNN. He said in December that he'd never served in office before being elected in 2010 and had "no idea" how to run a congressional office. "As I have said repeatedly, Congress must hold ourselves to a higher standard and regain the trust of the American people".
Farenthold had been pressured by congressional leaders to step down at the end of past year after it was learned he settled a harassment suit involving a former spokesperson.
Farenthold is the latest of several US lawmakers who have resigned or not sought re-election after being accused of sexual harassment.
Former aide Lauren Greene said Farenthold told another staffer in the office that he had "sexual fantasies" about her. Greene received $84,000 from a congressional fund to resolve workplace disputes, but she said she was blacklisted on Capitol Hill after raising her concerns. Some members and aides have complained about a patchwork system for reporting offenses and secrecy around settlements paid by lawmakers' offices.
He announced in December that he would not be seeking re-election.
Two Republicans, former Texas Water Board official Bech Bruun and ex-Victoria County Republican Party Chairman Michael Cloud, are squaring off in a May 22 primary runoff to succeed him. "Leaving my service in the House, I'm able to look back at the entirety of my career in public office and say that it was well worthwhile". "It's been an honor and a privilege to serve the constituents of the 27th district of Texas", he added.
Farenthold concluded the video by saying, "I look forward to staying in touch with everyone".