If I were wearing a hat at this moment, I would doff it toward Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
The Republican governor has put a fellow Republican former member of Congress on notice that he should pay the cost of a special election that is occurring because of the lawmaker’s disgraceful behavior.
Corpus Christi-area voters are going to the polls to elect someone to replace former Rep. Blake Farenthold, who resigned after being charged with several counts of sexual harassment.
Oh, but there’s more to this tale.
Farenthold took $84,000 in taxpayer funds to settle lawsuits brought against him. He has pledged to pay the money back, but hasn’t done so, although he reportedly has applied for a second mortgage on his home to cover the cost of the planned reimbursement
So, Abbott is seeking him to pay it back in another fashion.
The governor has written Farenthold a letter demanding he pay for the election that will occur on June 30 to replace him in Congress.
According to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times: “On behalf of voters in the 27th Congressional District and as Governor of the State of Texas, I am writing to demand that you cover all costs for the called special election to fill the seat now vacated following your resignation,” Abbott said in his letter. “While you have publicly offered to reimburse the $84,000 in taxpayer funds you wrongly used to settle a sexual harassment claim, there is no legal recourse requiring you to give that money back to Congress.”
There likely is no legal requirement for Farenthold to pay for the election. However, Gov. Abbott has rightfully put the heat squarely under Farenthold backside, seeking to shame him into doing the right thing by the congressional constituents he disgraced first by committing acts of sexual harassment and then dipping into the public fund to settle those lawsuits.
I’m not holding my breath waiting for Farenthold to act responsibly. Still, the governor’s letter and the demand it is making are spot on.