Rep. Trent Franks announced that he will resign from his seat after reportedly asking two of his female staffers to be surrogates.
“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,” Franks, R-Ariz., said in a statement Thursday. “I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress.”
— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) December 7, 2017
Franks says he and his wife have “struggled with infertility,” and the couple has “experienced miscarriages.”
“I have always tried to create a very warm and supportive atmosphere for every last person who has ever worked in my congressional office,” Franks said. “It is my deepest conviction that there are many staffers, former and present, who readily volunteer to substantiate this fact.”
The House Ethics Committee will have to rule on whether or not Franks’ advancements toward female staffers constitute sexual harassment.
“But in the midst of this current cultural and media climate, I am deeply convinced I would be unable to complete a fair House Ethics investigation before distorted and sensationalized versions of this story would put me, my family, my staff, and my noble colleagues in the House of Representatives through hyperbolized public excoriation,” Franks said. “Rather than allow a sensationalized trial by media damage those things I love most, this morning I notified House leadership that I will be leaving Congress as of Jan. 31, 2018.”
The Arizona congressman was elected in 2002 and previously served in the Arizona House of Representatives.
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