Franks resigned on Friday.
More details have come out after reports revealed that Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) asked former female aides to carry his baby. In his resignation statement, Franks insisted he never “physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact” with members of his staff.
However, aides believe Franks wanted to impregnate them via sex. One of the aides said he offered her $5 million to have his baby and he retaliated against her after she said no.
The sources said Franks approached two female staffers about acting as a potential surrogate for him and his wife, who has struggled with fertility issues for years. But the aides were concerned that Franks was asking to have sexual relations with them. It was not clear to the women whether he was asking about impregnating the women through sexual intercourse or in vitro fertilization. Franks opposes abortion rights as well as procedures that discard embryos.
A former staffer also alleged that Franks tried to persuade a female aide that they were in love by having her read an article that described how a person knows they’re in love with someone, the sources said. One woman believed she was the subject of retribution after rebuffing Franks. While she enjoyed access to the congressman before the incident, that access was revoked afterward, she told Republican leaders.
One of the former aides spoke to the Associated Press about how Franks offered her $5 million to have his baby. She is the one who claimed he retaliated against her:
“During my time there, I was asked a few times to look over a ‘contract’ to carry his child, and if I would conceive his child, I would be given $5 million,” she said, adding that she refused to look over the contract and has never seen a copy.
The woman said the requests shocked her, and made her feel afraid that if she didn’t agree, she would face professional consequences. She said she spoke to another aide in the office, who had also been approached about surrogacy.
The aide cited the surrogacy requests as “a main reason” for leaving the office, adding that she felt retaliated against after turning down the congressman, ignored by Franks and not given many assignments.
Franks announced his intention to resign at the end of January on Thursday. But on Friday he decided to change that to immediately after his wife was admitted into the hospital.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) became aware of the claims and confronted Franks, who did not deny the claims. Ryan informed Franks that he would send the claims to the Ethics Committee and told him to resign.
President of Traditional Values Coalition Andrea Lafferty reported Franks to Ryan’s office. The aide that received the $5 million offer went to Lafferty last year about the request:
“I was approached last year about the situation, she came to me wanting some advice about how to handle this. She came to me shaking and sobbing, and she shared a story that I think is horrific, a powerful man hiring young women, procuring staff, to potentially surrogate children for him,” Lafferty said. “I accompanied (the former aide) to the meeting in the speaker’s office where she said Congressman Trent Franks offered her $5 million if she conceived him a child.”
Franks explained in his statement that he and his wife have struggled with infertility. They conceived their twins with the help of a surrogate, but really want to give them a sibling.
Franks has been in Congress since 2003 and known as a fierce conservative. He is a member of the House Freedom Caucus. The Arizona “state law requires a special election to fill his seat for the remainder of the term.” Unlike the Senate, a vacant seat in the House has to be filled by an election.DONATE
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