Last week, Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., introduced the Bad Lawmakers Accountability and Key Emends Act (the “BLAKE”) named after former Texas Congressman Blake Farenthold who used $160,000 in taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit and then resigned from Congress with a pledge to pay the money back. The taxpayers are still waiting on the corpulent congressman to make good on that one.
The BLAKE Act would prevent former members of Congress from federal lobbying if they fail to repay taxpayer money used to settle litigation. While commendable, the BLAKE Act comes a bit late. New legislation has already ended the prior practice of using taxpayer funds to settle sexual harassment claims. Members of Congress must now use their own money (please don’t laugh) and no longer have access to the funds that the free-handed Farenthold used to settle claims against him.
But even the BLAKE Act would not apply to the bawdy Blake because in his current position he is not legally classified as a lobbyist even though it would seem he has no other useful skills. You see, Fats Farenthold was hired by the Calhoun Port Authority as a “legislative liaison” and because he is a Texas state employee he is not required to register as a lobbyist. The loophole would be just big enough for the bulky Blake to slip through.
And just what exactly the frolicking Farenthold was hired to do has become the subject of some interest. The Victoria Advocate is on the story. According to reporting in the VA, it seems BF’s main job may have been to attempt to steer government contracts towards a private company owned by Calhoun Port Authority Chairman Randy Boyd. Good work if you can get it at the rate of $160,000 per year.