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Arizona Rep. Trent Franks to resign after asking female staffers about surrogacy

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Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) announced Thursday he will resign from Congress after an investigation was opened about his “discussion of surrogacy” with female staffers.

“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 said in a statement. “I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress.”

In his statement, Franks, 60, denied ever having “physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact” with any members of his staff, CNN reported. Franks reportedly said he approached women in his office about surrogacy because he and his wife “long struggled with infertility” and went through three miscarriages.

Franks has been outspoken on conservative issues since being elected to Congress in 2002, and he authored several anti-abortion bills.

He is the third lawmaker, and the first Republican, to announce plans to leave Congress this week as the nation wrangles with allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) announced Tuesday he would retire after several women said he sexually harassed them. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn) said on Thursday he will resign following sexual misconduct allegations.  

“We are in an unusual moment in history—there is collective focus on a very important problem of justice and sexual impropriety,” Franks said in his statement. “It is so important that we get this right for everyone, especially for victims.”

Politico reported Franks will resign at the end of January. Per Arizona state law, Gov. Doug Ducey will have to set the date for a special election to fill his seat.

H/T Politico

Update 2:38pm CT, Dec. 8: In a statement today, Franks said that due to a medical incident regarding his wife, he was moving his resignation date up to today.

Kris Seavers

Kris Seavers

Kris Seavers is the Evening Editor for the Daily Dot, where she covers breaking news, politics, and LGBTQ issues. Her work has appeared in Central Texas publications, including Austin Monthly and San Antonio Magazine, and on NPR.