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ATLANTA (CNN) — Republican Rep. Mia Love of Utah said on Thursday that her colleague GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas should resign in light of allegations he sexually harassed members of his staff.
"I think that he should voluntarily resign," Love said on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" with anchor Kate Bolduan.
The House Ethics Committee announced earlier Thursday that it had received information about Farenthold over the last two weeks and was investigating the Texas Republican.
A report in Politico last week identified Farenthold as having used a taxpayer fund to pay a sexual harassment settlement to his former communications director. The woman, Lauren Greene, said in a lawsuit that the congressman had made sexually charged comments to another staffer.
Love said she thought that because of the pervasive culture of sexual harassment, Farenthold may not have even realized his alleged behavior was wrong.
"I don't think he thinks he's done anything wrong, but the fact is, someone was paid off," Love said. "Where he may not feel like his behavior was inappropriate, obviously somebody did. Obviously people felt uncomfortable."
Love's comments on Thursday were among the first calls from her party for Farenthold's resignation.
Allegations against other members of Congress have recently led to several resignations. Sen. Al Franken at midday Thursday announced his intention to resign after multiple women had come forward saying the Minnesota Democrat had touched them inappropriately, and dozens of his colleagues on Wednesday called for him to step aside. Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan similarly announced he would resign on Tuesday as allegations of his misconduct compounded.
And shortly before Love's appearance on CNN, Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona said he would step down to avoid a firestorm of media attention around a looming House Ethics investigation into allegations made about his behavior toward female staff.
Love said Franks' resignation is "disheartening," and that while there is a need for due process, the culture around sexual harassment must change.
"We have got to start getting comfortable having uncomfortable conversations in the workplace and at home, and talking about what's appropriate and what's inappropriate," Love said.
She said that any of her colleagues who felt they had committed sexual harassment needed to step down and to do so before an investigation compelled them.
"I think that anyone who feels like they've done something wrong should voluntarily resign. I really do. And I think that members of Congress should hold themselves to a higher standard," Love said. "We need to be examples of appropriate behavior, at the very least."
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