FlyerTalk Member Used $84,000 in Taxpayer Money From Secret Treasury Department Fund in Sexual Harassment Settlement

Blake Farenthold — a Republican congressman of the House of Representatives of the United States who represents his constituents in the 27th district of Texas and has done so since 2011 — reportedly used $84,000.00 in taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit which was filed by his former communications director in 2014.

FlyerTalk Member Used $84,000 in Taxpayer Money From Secret Treasury Department Fund in Sexual Harassment Settlement

“Farenthold is the first member of Congress confirmed to have benefited from a little-known Treasury Department fund created to cover workplace settlements involving lawmakers”, according to this article written by Elise Viebeck, Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Kimberly Kindy for The Washington Post. “The congressional Office of Compliance (OOC) disclosed Friday that the fund paid for only one sexual harassment settlement involving a House lawmaker’s office in the past five years, but did not name Farenthold.”

Even more disturbing is that the “secret” fund is “not the only source of settlement payments for lawmakers accused of misconduct. Members such as Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) have used their office budgets to settle — and conceal — complaints. Settlements reached using this method are not tracked, and they are difficult to identify, even in congressional offices’ payment records.”

As I first wrote in this article on Thursday, he following paragraph was extracted from this article written by Sam Levine for The Huffington Post:

Lauren Greene, Farenthold’s former communications director, claimed in a complaint filed last week that the congressman made inappropriate, sexually related comments to her. Greene says that when she told Farenthold’s executive assistant in January that she thought her boss was awkward around her, the executive assistant said Farenthold had confessed he had “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” about Greene.

Comments Posted by Blake Farenthold on FlyerTalk

The content posted by Farenthold on FlyerTalk between 2006 and 2010 had reportedly been used against him. Farenthold — who is also known as FlyerTalk member farenthold, as demonstrated by his profile with his occupation listed as US Congressman — has posted comments such as the following in chronological order about drinking and hitting on women to which you can access by clicking on the bold subheads, as extracted from the aforementioned article:

May 31, 2007

Pregnant wife in BF with me in Y = waste of 9 hours of free booze.

Pregnant wife in Y with me in BF = waste of 9 MONTHS of my happiness.

November 15, 2007

General Rules:

The Only meal to eat at a hotel is breakfast.

Just say no to chains.

The concierge is your friend and always deserves at least a $10 tip for a good restaurant recommendation

When someone comes to your office from out of town, always invite them to dinner so they don’t spend the evening alone at their hotel.

Never room service.

Hotel bars are for cocktails only …unless you are single and looking (or are in Las Vegas where what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas  )

Exceptions

No PF Changs in my hometown so it’s not a “chain” and their “bar” is more like a counter for food than drinking bar.

Hooters

5 star hotels, especially in Europe

Room service when hungover

$10 is not nearly enough for a concierge at a hotel you visit more than 3 times a year.

November 20, 2008

Best:

Late 70’s BA crew on Concord: They were as excited and enthusiastic as I was.

Late 80’s AA DFW-GDL & back several flights FA gave us extra bottle of champagne to take with us, great parties, one time i was only one in F until 4 AA gate agents boarded for shopping day in DFW.. flew back with ’em the next day too.

About 2 years ago, CO IAH-GDL mainline flight: FA was from my home town (CRP) and went to school with my sister. Besides my family (3 of us) there were only 2 other people in F. She spent her spare time catching up on the dozens of common friends we had.

Worst:

Mid 80’s, AA flight attendant spilled tray of boarding champagne on me.

’92 LHR-ORD AA in F (After a week in SVO) FA thought after 4 vodka shots (they were serving caviar) I’d had enough and cut me off for the rest of the flight. She said she’d get in trouble if I appeared over served at customs. At 250 lbs and a week in Russia, 4 vodkas wasn’t even a good start on being over served..

Pre Do III CHQ flights CRP-IAH (and back) almost never offered any beverage service. A comment to Larry at the DO had that fixed the next day.

March 6, 2009

I get upgraded. It’s my seat. I can give it to my wife if I like, or if I’m traveling alone the hot redhead in 12B in hopes of……

Kurt Bardella — a spokesman for Farenthold — reportedly sent an e-mail message to The Huffington Post which contained the following statement:

As anyone can see, this entire platform is designed to host an open and relaxed conversational environment — at one point a representative from United Airlines even provides a post requesting feedback about their expanded drink offerings. These postings are talking about traveling experiences that millions of Americans experience every day — utilizing the concierge for a restaurant recommendation, inviting out-of-town guests to dinner so they don’t spend the evening alone in a hotel room, and yes, like many normal people who will be traveling during the holiday season — enjoying some in-flight drinks. Quite frankly, it’s a bit of a reach to try and selectively pull out postings from before he was even elected to Congress, before he was in public life and draw the line that this provides validity to something that’s going on more than five years later.

FlyerTalk members posted comments in reaction: “I’ve been getting emails from folk saying they thought FT was legit”, posted FlyerTalk member SkiAdcock. “I tell them it is & this guy is a doofus.”

The remarks posted on FlyerTalk by Farenthold — reportedly brought to the attention of The Huffington Post by a source from the Democratic party in an apparent effort to disparage him and further tarnish his reputation — might seem to be tasteless and classless to some people; but I have not seen FlyerTalk used to this degree in order to help incriminate someone on some serious charges and allegations.

It is unfortunate that FlyerTalk had been involuntarily thrusted in a negative manner into the political spotlight in a way which has apparently already been discrediting it — but I suppose that comes with the territory of becoming the largest Internet bulletin board web site for the discussion of frequent travel loyalty program miles, points and travel with almost 700,000 members. I can assure you that this is not what Randy Petersen had in mind when he launched this version of FlyerTalk back in May of 1998.

Summary

I am outraged that my tax dollars were used to cover up the shenanigans of sleazy elected officials who are supposed to be serving me and other constituents instead of sexually harassing women — and I am even more outraged that that fund was not disclosed to the people who funded it to protect the guilty parties. These people are not who I want to lead the country and participate in creating laws.

Every politician involved in this scandal should be immediately fired; forced to compensate their victims; and pay back their constituents with interest. They should also be thrown in jail for at least a few years.

Sexual harassment is a very serious issue to anyone who has been on the “wrong end” of experiencing it. I intend to explore this topic in greater detail in future articles — especially as it occurs seemingly regularly in travel; and especially as it has been in the spotlight in the news in recent years.

In the meantime, I have said it before and I will say it again: if you ever wanted proof that you should always be careful about what you post on FlyerTalk — or any Internet bulletin board web site — because you never know if and when it could come back to haunt you, this story is a classic textbook example…

Source: Blake Farenthold.

2 thoughts on “FlyerTalk Member Used $84,000 in Taxpayer Money From Secret Treasury Department Fund in Sexual Harassment Settlement”

  1. Vicente says:

    Indeed he should be sacked.

    GOP SOP is “dark money” and various non-profit vehicles to obscure where the money goes. He was sloppy, and will be tossed under the bus forthwith. To be replaced by someone just as corrupt but clever enough to properly cover up. And let’s dare not investigate any of the people funding him or otherwise involved, look shiny object!

  2. Jacob says:

    This article reminds me of the sleeze campaign that the HRC people TRIED to put on Donald Trump at the best possible moment for the most effect. The people of the United States saw right through it.
    What happened 10 years ago is still not right and Trump did admit that his words were not right and asked forgiveness. People do like to point the finger saying, But, I am not as bad as…….
    The good book says to not bring an accusation against another except in the presence of two or three witnesses. There is probably audio and video tape out there on many of readers herewith.
    There are always two sides to every story and in all fairness the accused needs to share his. Accusations for political or FINANCIAL ! gain are just accusations. When a society does not have a moral compass as we used to have in this country then all this, He said, She said garbage will continue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *