UPDATE: He is resigning immediately after his wife was admitted to a hospital on Friday.
*UPDATE 3:25PM* AP just tweeted that Franks is retiring immediately after wife is admitted to the hospital. Frank Thorp tweeted Franks’ statement, which said she is in the hospital for an ongoing ailment and after discussions with family, he decided to retire today.
Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) has decided to resign amid reports that he asked female staff members to bear his child. The House Ethics Committee had said it would investigate the lawmaker.
Franks said in a statement that he brought up surrogacy with two former female staffers because he and his wife have struggled with infertility. The topic made the females feel uncomfortable.
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.
Here’s the statement on @RepTrentFranks from @SpeakerRyan. Regardless of Franks’ “surrogacy” explanation, Ryan seems to have seen this as a congressman repeatedly & inappropriately propositioning staffers to bear his children to the point of discomfort and intimidation. pic.twitter.com/Am8YzyNyGi
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) December 8, 2017
Franks mentioned in his statement that he did not intimidate anyone or tried to have sexual contact with them. From The New York Times:
“Due to my familiarity and experience with the process of surrogacy, I clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others,” Mr. Franks said.
Mr. Franks denied that he had ever “physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff.”
His statement said only that he deeply regretted discussing the topic of surrogacy, but a Republican familiar with the accusation said that Mr. Frank had specifically asked those aides to be surrogates.
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.
The Ethics Committee also announced it would start an investigation into Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) after it was revealed that in 2014, he paid $84,000 to settle a claim with his former employee Lauren Greene. She accused him of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and creating a hostile work environment. The Washington Post reported that the committee opened an investigation into Farenthold in 2015, but could not pull in a cooperating witness other than the lawmaker.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.