Ethics panel opens probe into Texas Rep. Farenthold

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee says it has unanimously voted to establish an investigative panel to examine sexual harassment allegations against Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas.

The committee says it will investigate whether Farenthold sexually harassed a former member of his staff and retaliated against her for complaining.

Lauren Greene is a former communications director in the congressman's office. She alleged in a 2014 federal lawsuit that she was sexually harassed and fired soon after complaining of a hostile work environment.

Farenthold said when the case was settled in 2015 that he didn't engage in any wrongdoing.

The committee has reviewed more than 200,000 pages of materials and interviewed multiple witnesses. It says that in light of recent developments, it considers it appropriate to continue the work.