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U.S. Congressman Blake Farenthold, under fire over harassment claims, resigns

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U.S. Congressman Blake Farenthold, who long resisted calls to resign after it was revealed that he spent tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment complaint, abruptly resigned on Friday.

Farenthold, a Republican from Texas, announced in mid-December that he would not seek re-election in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment. But in a video released on Friday, Farenthold said he had decided it is “time to move on” and find new ways to serve.

“I sent a letter to Governor Greg Abbott today resigning from the House of Representatives effective at 5 p.m. today,” Farenthold said.

It was not immediately clear what, if anything, prompted his sudden decision to resign. He also appeared to have deleted both his Facebook and Twitter accounts, as both were inaccessible on Friday.

Farenthold, who served in Congress since 2011, came under fire in December when it was revealed that he had used $84,000 in taxpayer money to settle an allegation of sexual harassment in 2014. Former colleagues also came forward with allegations about a hostile work environment. Farenthold has denied all of the allegations.

It’s unclear if Farenthold will repay the taxpayer money which was used for the settlement, although he has previously promised to do so.

“I hope Blake is true to his word and pays back the $84,000 of taxpayer money he used as a settlement,” said Steve Stivers, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

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