Ex-Texas Rep. Farenthold quits lucrative port lobbying job

AP

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FILE - In this Dec. 19, 2017 file photo, Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington. The disgraced former Texas congressman who resigned last year amid sexual harassment allegations has quit his $160,000-a-year lobbyist position for a port authority. The Victoria Advocate reports Farenthold is no longer representing the Calhoun Port Authority, which announced his resignation Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh File, File)

VICTORIA, Texas (AP) A former Texas congressman who resigned last year amid sexual harassment allegations has quit his $160,000-a-year lobbyist position for a port authority.

The Calhoun Port Authority announced on Thursday that former Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold submitted his resignation this month, the Victoria Advocate reported. The port's board declined to comment further.

Farenthold's resignation letter said he left the lucrative position lobbying for a port in his ex-district "to pursue other interests and opportunities."

Farenthold started representing the port authority last May, just weeks after he abruptly resigned from Congress following bipartisan pressure over his use of public funds to settle a sexual harassment complaint.

The newspaper raised questions about the former congressman's lobbying post in August after obtaining emails that show Farenthold's office had allegedly tried to steer a federal contract to the company of port chairman Randy Boyd, who gave him the job. According to the emails, Farenthold's office arranged a meeting in May 2015 between Boyd and the Army Corps of Engineers about a government project, but federal officials declined to work with Boyd's company.

The Victoria Advocate sued the port over allegations of open meetings law violations when it hired Farenthold.

The lawsuit, which is still pending, originally sought to void the port's hiring of Farenthold. With his resignation, the newspaper plans to continue seeking injunctive relief to prohibit the port from making similar violations in the future, said John Griffin, an attorney representing the newspaper.

"He was not hired lawfully in the first place," Griffin said. "While it's good that Mr. Farenthold apparently realized the illegality of his hiring, it's unfortunate that the port did not terminate him months ago."

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