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Correction: Sexual Misconduct-Farenthold story

In a story Dec. 7 about a House Ethics Committee investigation, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the panel's chairwoman, Rep. Susan Brooks, was from Alabama. She is from Indiana.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Ethics panel expands probe into GOP Rep. Farenthold of Texas

The House Ethics Committee says it is expanding its investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas

By KEVIN FREKING

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee said Thursday it is expanding its investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas.

The committee said it will investigate whether Farenthold sexually harassed a former member of his staff and retaliated against her for complaining. The committee also said the panel would review allegations that Farenthold made inappropriate statements to other members of his official staff.

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 had already been conducting a discretionary review of the matter and has examined more than 200,000 pages of materials and interviewed multiple witnesses. However, a press release announcing the subcommittee's formation said the resolution of the case had been significantly delayed by difficulties in obtaining testimony from key witnesses and in accessing confidential documents the parties exchanged as the lawsuit was ongoing.

The formation of the subcommittee raises the level of the review and is a necessary prerequisite to the most serious sanctions available in ethics matters.

The committee said more information has come out about the settlement between the two parties. In addition, both Farenthold and the former aide had expressed an interest in increased transparency.

"In light of these developments, the Committee has determined that it is appropriate to establish an Investigative Subcommittee to continue its investigation," said Reps. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., the chairwoman of the committee, and Rep. Ted Deutch, the ranking Democrat.

The independent Office of Congressional Ethics investigated Greene's claim, and recommended that the House Ethics Committee dismiss the allegations, "as there is not substantial reason to believe that Representative Farenthold sexually harassed or discriminated against complainant."

Farenthold said he was "relieved" that the Ethics Committee would look further into the case.

"Once all the facts are released, I'm confident this matter will once and for all be settled and resolved," Farenthold said. "I'm also pleased the Committee on Ethics recognizes, as per their statement, that I have cooperated fully with the committee's investigation and has acknowledged a decision has been delayed because of difficulty obtaining live testimony from other witnesses.

"This investigation increases the transparency the public deserves and what I've wanted since the beginning."

Complaints from staff against members of Congress generally go to the Office of Compliance, which last week said it has settled one claim since 2013 resulting from sexual harassment. The amount was $84,000.

An aide with knowledge of the settlement confirmed that Farenthold is the lawmaker whose office paid the settlement. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because the individual was not authorized to publicly discuss the agreement.

Farenthold subsequently said he was taking out a personal loan to cover the settlement's costs.

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But the idea that Ohr was using ham radio for secret communications with Steele on the dossier, or items related to the Trump campaign – is somewhat laughable to me and many in the amateur radio community. RT ARmastrangelo: Now we're learning that they were communicating by ham radio. Robert Ohr's wife even applied for a ham radio license so that nobody could monitor them during their Trump investigation, while they prepared the dossier. Real cute. — Ex-GOP Ronin! (@ShawDeuce) December 15, 2017 And just like with Pizzagate, there are no actual facts to back up claims like that one on Twitter about the ham radio link – but that hasn’t stopped it from making the quick jump from social media to talk radio. “Now we find out that Robert Ohr’s wife applied for a ham radio license?” said Rush Limbaugh as he opened his show on December 14, not even three full days after it surfaced on Twitter. “They were communicating by ham radio,” Limbaugh declared with authority, adding that it was an effort to get around monitoring efforts of the National Security Agency, evidently to facilitate contacts by Orr and former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. Sigh. Let’s start with this question – could Nellie Orr use ham radio to be in contact with Steele in England, or others on the European continent? Take it from me – a few weeks ago, I was furiously trying to make as many contacts as possible with European ham radio operators – it wouldn’t be easy for someone with a new license like hers. And I could come up with a lot better choices. @jamiedupree Can't quit laughing about this talk of KM4UDZ using her 'ham radio' to write a campaign document. idiots know nothing about subject OR who she was communicating with or which band (& it's limitation) – ridiculous. — Jim Bowman (@W4DFS) December 14, 2017 “It would be one of the least efficient communication methods one could choose,” said David Isgur, the Communication Manager for the American Radio Relay League, the national association for ham radio in the U.S. As Isgur pointed out to me in an email from ARRL HQ, not only would you need good antennas, and some good knowledge about when signals are the best between the United States and Europe, but Ohr’s license grade is a “Technician,” which is the lowest level license issued by the FCC. Hams who are “Technicians” have the smallest amount of privileges on the various amateur radio frequencies. Most of her frequencies would support very local communication, not even out of state, let alone across the country, or across the ocean  to Europe. And with her license, class, the best way she could communicate with someone in Europe would be in Morse Code – and that’s not easy for a beginner (it isn’t part of the license requirement any longer in the United States). But like Pizzagate, those kind of facts don’t matter to those who want to spread this story. The ham radio angle seems to have originated with a Twitter user who goes by the handle @TruthinGov2016, who found that Nellie Ohr had applied for an amateur radio license, and been granted the call sign KM4UDZ. Why is Nellie Ohr communicating via amateur HAM radio and with who? Here’s her call sign. You can listen in. https://t.co/NEYPPj1dIq pic.twitter.com/TmS2rGLzmm — TruthInGovernment (@TruthinGov2016) December 12, 2017 That tweet on December 11, would quickly gain attention on social media, and end up on talk radio just a few days later. Ham radio operators who have been in touch with me were trying not to laugh too much. “If you wanted to have secret, encrypted communications, why would you even bother getting a ham radio license,” said one amateur radio operator on my Facebook page. As for the idea that Ohr would be using ham radio to get around the National Security Agency, “this is 100% totally, completely, wrong,” said another ham, who noted that the NSA records the entire radio spectrum 24/7/365. “That you think ham radio has anything to do with this is hysterical,” one ham wrote to @TruthinGov2016 about the supposed Chris Steele link. “Absolutely hysterical.” But even with comments like that from people who know the limits of the hobby, it didn’t stop the conspiracy theory from spreading fast over the internet. Nellie Ohr gets a HAM radio license so she can communicate with Steele or MI6 or the Russians or whoever! Tom Clancy couldn't make this stuff up on his best day! — Tom Joad (@blakemankansas) December 12, 2017 I got my ham radio license when I was a freshman in college back in 1981, so I’ve seen a few things in the hobby. 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