UPDATE — 5:00 p.m. EST: Following more detailed allegations about the nature of Rep. Franks asking female aides to carry his child, the GOP congressman resigned from office Friday after previously stating he would leave Washington at the end of January.
Sources speaking to AP and Politico separately said Franks offered one staffer $5 million to fulfill the request on four separate occasions and two of those he asked the favor of were worried the act would require actually having sex with their boss.
Arizona Republican Congressman Trent Franks announced Thursday he will resign his House seat effective Jan. 31, 2018, over the disclosure he asked two former female staffers to become surrogate mothers.
In a statement released by his office, Franks disclosed difficulty with fertility and explained avenues both he and his wife had previously explored to rear children.
Describing the wave of sexual harassment allegations which have consumed several members of Congress as an “unusual moment,” Franks admitted the House Committee on Ethics was looking into the matter.
“I have recently learned that the Ethics Committee is reviewing an inquiry regarding my discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making each feel uncomfortable. I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress,” Franks wrote in a statement.
Unlike allegations hurled against other members of Congress, Franks adamantly denied ever having “physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff.”
Previously, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), issued a statement that he had been briefed on the matter in late November. Upon learning of the issue, Ryan encouraged Franks to step down.
Under Arizona law, a special election will be held following a primary period to begin no later than 90 days after Franks leaves office.
Franks is the third lawmaker to resign from Congress over the last seven days. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) have also announced their resignations related to charges they sexually harassed female staffers or acquaintances.
[Reuters] [Politico] [Photo courtesy Reuters via The Atlantic]