Members of Congress and government watchdogs are questioning why a little-known House agency used taxpayer funds to investigate a sexual harassment complaint involving Rep. Blake Farenthold’s office last year, and then failed to make the results public.
The Office of House Employment Counsel operates under the auspices of the House clerk’s office and advises members on employment practices. It also facilitates investigations into employee complaints, a spokesperson confirmed to POLITICO. But what happens afterward is murky: The office appears to serve House members and their offices — not necessarily the employees — and makes no public accounting of its determinations or its expenditures.
A spokesperson for the office declined to say how many sexual harassment complaints or other investigations it’s handled in recent years, citing attorney-client privilege. It also declined to reveal the firms that it hired or the amount paid to them. In addition, both Democratic and Republican House leadership offices declined to answer questions about the internal investigations.