‘People across this country are through with Washington getting to live by a different set of rules…’
(Lionel Parrott, Liberty Headlines) Former Members of Congress who refuse to pay back the Treasury Department for sexual harassment settlements could be barred from becoming federal lobbyists.
That’s what would happen if a bill introduced by Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., becomes law.
According to a press release from Walker’s office, the lobbying ban would apply to lawmakers who do not follow the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (CAA) Reform Act, which was updated and signed into law by President Donald Trump last month.
“People across this country are through with Washington getting to live by a different set of rules,” Walker said. “Using taxpayer funds to cover up your inappropriate behavior, only to evade responsibility and then enrich yourself off your time in Congress is an abuse of power, an absence of character, and a violation of trust.”
The bill’s full title is the Bad Lawmakers Accountability and Key Emends Act, otherwise known as the BLAKE Act.
“Congress has made strides in promoting accountability and protecting victims, but more needs to be done to ensure this never happens again,” said the press release .
Walker, who represents the 6th congressional district of North Carolina, has been a “leader on ending taxpayer-funded sexual harassment settlements by lawmakers,” it said.
It is likely that former Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, is the inspiration for the bill.
Farenthold resigned last year after it was revealed in late 2017 that he took taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit against him.
During his time in Congress, Farenthold was alleged to have created a hostile work environment by regularly making lewd comments.
He confessed to his office spokeswoman that he had “wet dreams” about her, was known to drink to excess and bragged that a female lobbyist had invited him for a “threesome.”
Farenthold initially vowed he would pay the money back to taxpayers, but later changed his mind—evidently on the advice of his lawyer.
He then took a job as a lobbyist.
Unfortunately, the bill cannot apply retroactively, as that would make it an unconstitutional ex-post-facto law.
But Walker said he hopes lawmakers will enforce the “spirit” of his bill and refuse to meet with ex-congressmen who otherwise would fall into the bill’s jurisdiction.