Update: Last week Arizona GOP representative Trent Franks announced his resignation after two of his female staffers accused the congressman of sexual harassment.
Although it was immediately revealed that the harassment allegations stemmed from Franks' open discussion about he and his wife's fertility and surrogacy issues, more details have emerged about the content of those conversations and exactly why they made his staffers so uncomfortable.
As reported by CNN, one employee alleges that Franks offered her $5 million to be a surrogate mother to his child and even was asked to look over a contract that detailed the proposed arrangement.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Franks' accuser says he spoke to her about the matter in private multiple times despite the fact that she made clear she had no interest in acting as a surrogate. She says that, after confiding in a fellow female aide, she learned that Franks had also spoken to that woman about potential surrogacy.
Original story was published on December 7, 2017.
Due to sexual harassment allegations, Arizona GOP representative Trent Franks announced his resignation on Thursday evening.
According to USA Today, the move came shortly after Franks learned that the House Ethics Committee planned to investigate the allegations, which were made by two of Franks' female staffers.
The women say that Franks made them uncomfortable when he openly spoke to them about he and his wife's infertility and surrogacy issues, CNN reports. Franks admitted to discussing these topics in the office, but his statement emphasized that he never "physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff."
The office of House Speaker Paul Ryan described the women's claims as "credible" and confirmed that Ryan accepted Franks' resignation letter. The announcement follows on the heels of Senator Al Franken's resignation this morning John Conyers' resignation earlier this week, both due to sexual misconduct allegations.
"I do want to take full and personal responsibility for the ways I have broached a topic that, unbeknownst to me until very recently, made certain individuals uncomfortable," Franks wrote in his lengthy statement, before detailing he and his wife's fertility struggles.
"We are in an unusual moment in history – there is collective focus on a very important problem of justice and sexual impropriety. It is so important that we get this right for everyone, especially for victims," Franks continued. "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."
According to Politico, Franks is socially conservative and has pushed anti-abortion legislation during his time in Congress. CNN notes that Franks voiced his support for Donald Trump last year after the release of the Access Hollywood tape, stating that the comments were not as bad as Hillary Clinton's pro-choice policies. He last drew national attention in 2013 when he claimed that "incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low."
A special election will be held to replace Franks. Several Republican names have already been thrown into the mix, and a Democratic candidate will face an uphill battle: Politico reports that Trump carried Franks' district by 21 points last year.
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