Rep. Trent Franks, facing ethics investigation, says he will resign immediately

Arizona Republican Trent Franks says he is resigning from the House because he discussed with two female staff aides whether they would consider being a surrogate mother.

The House of Representatives Ethics Committee said on Thursday it had opened an investigation into accusations of sexual harassment against Franks. "After discussing options with my family, we came to the conclusion that the best thing for our family now would be for me to tender my previous resignation effective today, December 8th, 2017", Franks said in an emailed statement.

"I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress", said Franks, becoming the third Hill-er to announce he is throwing in the towel following Franken and Rep. John Conyers just this week.

"I have absolutely never physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff", Franks said in the statement.

The eight-term lawmaker abruptly resigned Friday, bowing to an ultimatum from House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. He recently told the National Journal that he and his wife have tried three times to adopt from a crisis pregnancy center, but each time his wife changed her mind after the birth. They had twins through a surrogate, but subsequent attempts to have another child by either adoption or another surrogate fell through.

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Franks said he will step down effective January 31.

After Ryan brought the claims to Franks, he filed a complaint with the Ethics Committee and asked Franks to resign. "The statement will explain".

Franks is also a member of the House Freedom Caucus, a hard-right faction that has often clashed with Republican leaders. He said he'd depart in a few weeks.

The Associated Press reported that a former aide to Franks said the congressman offered her US$5 million to carry his child. He continued as chairman of a House Judiciary subcommittee and as a member of the House Armed Services Committee.


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