House Republican Trent Franks Resigns Amid Sexual Harassment Investigation

WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 15: Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) listens during a news conference for the launch of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus on Capitol Hill on September 15, 2011 in Washington, DC. Franks is a co-chair of the caucus, along with Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). The bi-partisan caucus has attracted approximately 50 members. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

Rep. Trent Franks has announced that he plans to resign from Congress at the end of January. Shortly after the news broke, the House Intelligence Committee announced that it will investigate whether Franks engaged in “conduct that constitutes sexual harassment and/or retaliation for opposing sexual harassment.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan said he asked Franks to resign after learning about “troubling behavior” and “misconduct” against two former Franks staffers. Franks said in a statement that the Ethics inquiry regards his “discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making each feel uncomfortable.” Franks added, “I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress.”

The Associated Press reports that Franks denies ever physically intimidating, coercing or attempting to have sexual contact with any member of his congressional staff. The congressman admits he “became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others.”

Franks, who authored legislation proposing a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, is the father of twins conceived through in vitro fertilization and carried by a surrogate. 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.

Franks is the third lawmaker and first Republican this week to announce his resignation in response to sexual misconduct allegations, following Senator Al Franken and Rep. John Conyers.


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